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Boingo Awarded a Patent For Hotspot Access 105

Posted by kdawson
from the pay-up-everyone dept.
Boingo has scored a patent for accessing a Wi-Fi hotspot by a mobile device. The patent, no. 7,483,984, was issued in January, but Boingo only started talking about it recently. The patent application was filed in December 2002. According to the company, the methods covered by the patent include: "...accessing wireless carrier networks by mobile computing devices, where a client software application hosted by the device accesses carrier networks using wireless access points. For example, when a computer — or netbook, smartphone or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device — is in a location where there are multiple signals, the patented technology looks at each signal and alerts the user which signal will work, showing the signal as an understandable name and ID for the user.The patent covers all wireless technologies and spectrums, as well as any mobile device that access wireless hotspots." The company is not saying anything about whether or how they will attempt to wield this patent.
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Boingo Awarded a Patent For Hotspot Access

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  • WTF! (Score:5, Funny)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:25PM (#28447137)

    I thought Halliburton patented this tactic back in 2008: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/10/1651236&from=rss [slashdot.org]

    Boingo is infringing another corporation's intellectual property!

  • 20080270152 (Score:5, Funny)

    by KronosReaver (932860) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:27PM (#28447153)

    http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=20080270152&OS=20080270152&RS=20080270152 [uspto.gov]

    Patent Acquisition and Assertion by a (Non-Inventor) First Party Against a Second Party

    Abstract

    Methods for a first party to acquire and assert a patent property against a second party are disclosed. The methods include obtaining an equity interest in the patent property. The methods further include writing a claim within the scope of the patent property. The claim is written to cover a product of the second party where the product includes a secret aspect. The methods further include filing the claim with a patent office. The methods sometimes include offering a license of the patent property to the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim. The methods sometimes include asserting infringement of the claim by the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim. The methods sometimes include negotiating a cross-license with the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim, where under the cross-license the first party obtains a license to an intellectual property right from the second party. The methods sometime include attempting to obtain a monetary settlement from the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim.

    • This is absolutely horrifying! Will it be granted? It was filed by the poster child of ruthless corruption.

      I think people have been modding this "funny" because they think you made it up.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by _ivy_ivy_ (1081273)

      But wait!

      I've applied for a patent for the method of patenting the process of abusing the patent system!

      Too bad it's patently obvious.

    • I thought you were kidding until I saw the link, even then I didn't really think it would link to a patent application for that...

      In any case, though, I'm sorry to inform Halliburton that there's a bit of prior art [law.com] on patent trolling. Though I'd almost hope they get it, if for no other reason than to see the irony of a patent troll getting sued for patent infringement.

      • I thought you were kidding until I saw the link, even then I didn't really think it would link to a patent application for that...

        In any case, though, I'm sorry to inform Halliburton that there's a bit of prior art [law.com] on patent trolling. Though I'd almost hope they get it, if for no other reason than to see the irony of a patent troll getting sued for patent infringement.

        Nice searching - that specific article is cited as prior art in one of the many rejections on that app.

    • by roemcke (612429)

      I hope they get this patent and start going after patent trolls. Often pantents are aquired for defensive purposes, so that you can countersue if somebody sues you. Normally patent trolls doesn't produce any products, so there is no way to sue them for patent infrigment to protect yourself, except if you own a patent for abusing the patent system :)

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:28PM (#28447169) Journal
    This patent is beyond the Patent Office's usual idiocy and right up there with "method for playing with a cat with a laser". I mean really, displaying a list of accessible networks using perfectly standard techniques?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Nursie (632944)

      Yeah.

      I mean, I wasn't even an early adopter and I had a home wireless setup before they filed this, and a computer that would present a list of hotspots by SSID.

      This is nuts.

    • by rminsk (831757) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:51PM (#28447361)
      For complete context here is the Method of exercising a cat [google.com] patent.

      A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.
    • by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @07:09PM (#28447535)

      My guess without looking up the prosecution history on Public PAIR (which anyone could do when the system is up) is that the key limitation here is that you have to get carrier network information from an access point database using the carrier network identifiers as a key.

      Unfortunately, some internal databases at the USPTO have been down all day today, and that includes the databases that supply data to Public PAIR.

    • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @07:26PM (#28447661)

      Sorry. Someone already filed an application on "Method for replacing chimpanzees weilding 'APPROVED' stamps with human examiners".

    • by PsiCTO (442262)
      Please, not before my application for the indexing of data volumes (with a preferred embodiment based on vegetable dyes stamped onto processed cellulose sheets) such that information such as authorship, data category, repository location, publication date, publisher, and such is presented in an index consisting of cards (see later preferred embodiments) arranged in stacks contained by sliding card-holding racks (see later preferred embodiments for examples in wood and steel). Said racks are located in a cen
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by psxndc (105904)

      This patent is beyond the Patent Office's usual idiocy and right up there with "method for playing with a cat with a laser". I mean really, displaying a list of accessible networks using perfectly standard techniques?

      And yet you - like every other slashdotter - will base you opinion on /.'s summary and not the claims themselves.

      1. A method of displaying to a user a list of carrier networks available for access, comprising:

      (a) detecting carrier network signals by an access client transmitted from a plurality of carrier networks;

      (b) determining carrier network identifiers by the access client using the carrier network signals;

      (c) getting carrier network information from an access point database by the access clien

  • Since they mention Wi-Fi in their patent doesn't the patent invalidate itself by itself referring to prior art?
    --
    Job Frenzy [adaptiveapp.com]

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Shhh! Don't tell anyone! Let me let you in on a little secret of the patent procedure - the whole reason the "prior art" section is there is to see if filers put something in there. If they do, bam! instant rejection. After all, it's pretty common knowledge that the only things that can be patented are items created entirely from scratch with no relationship to existing technology and using only newly-discovered materials. Apparently this patent slipped through the cracks. Thanks for pointing out the non-bl
  • Dead on arrival... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:33PM (#28447211)
    The independent claims contain the key limitation:

    wherein two or more carrier network identifiers associated with a common carrier network system are aggregated to generate a carrier network system identifier that is included in the user selectable list

    so if you see multiple Starbucks SSIDS, you just display one on the list to pick from.

    it would seem, therefore, that if you do not perform this step of aggregating the two or more network identifiers associated with a common network system, you've avoided this patent.

    HINT: show 'em all, even if it means showing multiple Starbucks.

    My favourite carrier when I'm on the road? LINKSYS

    • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:39PM (#28447255) Journal

      wherein two or more carrier network identifiers associated with a common carrier network system are aggregated to generate a carrier network system identifier that is included in the user selectable list

      Haven't GSM phones done this for ages when roaming? The phone may be in range of multiple towers from multiple providers, yet it only gives a list of providers (not the individual towers).

      • by roemcke (612429)

        I don't know if GSM phones check with a database to see if they are allowed to connect to the access point when listing networks.

        What is claimed in the patent is doing ALL of the following in a single product:

        - Scanning for access points or looking them up from a storage medium
        - Looking up access rights for the access points from a database
        - Listing access points to the user, where access points belonging to the same provider are shown as a single item.

        Some claims ar more specific, but i think doing only 2

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by whoever57 (658626)

          What is claimed in the patent is doing ALL of the following in a single product:

          - Scanning for access points or looking them up from a storage medium
          - Looking up access rights for the access points from a database
          - Listing access points to the user, where access points belonging to the same provider are shown as a single item.

          Some claims ar more specific, but i think doing only 2 of the 3 things above should not count as infringement or prior art.

          I don't know about the database either, but adding the

        • by jamstar7 (694492)

          I don't know if GSM phones check with a database to see if they are allowed to connect to the access point when listing networks.

          Actually, the system checks the database for the number and ESN of the phone to see if it's allowed on the network. That's why you could be standing next to a tower and have zero signal on your phone is because it's not allowed on that network.

      • Didn't Windows XP SP1 do this, which was released in....oh, I don't know....maybe September 2002?

        As to checking a database to see if they're allowed to connect....isn't that basically MAC filtering? The only difference is, it doesn't display "Verboten!" on the interface. Hardly a patentable innovation....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by radtea (464814)

      The independent claims contain the key limitation

      Yeah, but you have to understand that none of the /. editors knows anything about patents, which is why summaries on patent-related stories always cite completely irrelevant information that has nothing at all to do with what is actually patented. This despite nearly a decade of people who DO know something about patents pointing it out.

      It's kind of sad, really. Nerds are supposed to be all up on the facts, but as patent stories on /. make clear, the editor

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        No no no, this isn't an editor this is kdawson. kdawson is to $COMPETENTEDITOR as Ed Wood is to $COMPETENTDIRECTOR.

        One day he'll pass into internets mythology like Biff.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        Yeah, but you have to understand that none of the /. editors knows anything about patents, which is why summaries on patent-related stories always cite completely irrelevant information that has nothing at all to do with what is actually patented. This despite nearly a decade of people who DO know something about patents pointing it out.

        What people who claim to know something about patents "point out" is contradicted by the actual prosecution of patent violations, where the claims are construed rather more

        • by radtea (464814)

          What people who claim to know something about patents "point out" is contradicted by the actual prosecution of patent violations, where the claims are construed rather more broadly than patent fans would imply

          I'm not a fan of software patents, and your comment doesn't answer my point because you correctly ground the prosecution of patent violations in the claims, however broadly construed, rather than in completely unrelated matter like the abstract, background, and company press releases, all of which get

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by saxmanb (156794)

        I couldn't agree more. *flame on* Most of the slashdotters just wave their hands and say "oh this is SOOOO obvious..blah blah blah" but hardly any try to actually find something that teaches the "obvious" invention (that published before the filing date). It's always "oh everyone knows that". Well, if everyone knows it then it shouldn't take but a few seconds on google, should it?

        I'm all for the patent statutes being amended and the system being overhauled, but geez, don't bash the examining corp for fo

    • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@NoSPaM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:01PM (#28448555) Homepage Journal

      Unfortunately, the common carrier can be simply construed as the internet as proxied by ISPs. Identifiers can simply be IP addresses - when viewed as a tuple (ap, ip) the ips are unique. Note that it does not logically matter which ap or isp is chosen for a network connection. My laptop certainly maintains a list (database) of access points, and attendant information (passwords).

      I can pick one from the list, or one will be automatically chosen.

      The iPhone is even more interesting here; it even switches between cellular and wifi.

      As far as I can tell, this patent locks up everything currently in play for wifi - Linux NetworkManager conflicts, as does the iPhone, and, I believe Windows.

      iwconfig and ifconfig in Linux would NOT conflict, but, outside of some techies, no one uses that layer directly. Private networks are also not affected.

      The most interesting question is: who should pay? The invention doesn't come together until a number of elements are combined - the ap, a common network, a connection list. Remove any one of these elements, and (from my read) the invention ceases to exist. We won't be getting rid of the common network, so it will be "client side" payouts -- either on the aps, or the software that remembers aps. aps themselves don't infringe, so the only item left is the software that maintains and manages the connection list. NetworkManager.

      My response to that? They would be serious asshats to actually USE this patent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        The most interesting question is: who should pay?

        The chain of command at Boingo who approved this, by being dragged out, beaten senseless, and having "I RUIN AMERICA" tattooed on their faces.

        Fives years ago, I would have meant that as a joke.

    • by Aceticon (140883)

      wherein two or more carrier network identifiers associated with a common carrier network system are aggregated to generate a carrier network system identifier that is included in the user selectable list

      so if you see multiple Starbucks SSIDS, you just display one on the list to pick from.

      it would seem, therefore, that if you do not perform this step of aggregating the two or more network identifiers associated with a common network system, you've avoided this patent.

      Group multiple entries as being equivalen

    • by DeskLazer (699263)
      wait a minute, are you that asshole that keeps parking in front of my apartment building with your laptop out and looking for an unsecured network? our router is password protected. get off our lawn!
  • Can I just point out that a mobile phone is in itself a mobile computing device (even without the ability to "run" your app of choice or a command shell. Even the "bricks" that people carried around circa 1985 had more CPU power than most computers. This patent is invalid right from the get go.
  • Impossible (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:44PM (#28447305)

    The patent seems to be related to the mobile device specifically accessing a "hot-spot". Just how the heck are they supposed to license this and make money?

    Any mobile device can connect up to wireless that does not necessarily qualify as a hotspot. So how can you force a mobile phone manufacturer, a netbook manufacturer, a laptop manufacturer, etc. to pay royalties when there is no guarantee that the device will ever be used to access a hotspot? I understand they have a patent, but I don't find that reasonable.

    To me it would be the same as getting a patent on the act of juicing oranges and then asking royalties from every single juice machine manufacturer with the claim, "well it could be used to juice oranges".

    They could go after the people hosting wireless hotspots that the devices would be accessing or the access point manufacturers, but the claim is on the client device......

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm guessing they are not interested in licensing.

      There are legal theories that a patentee may use to cover the situations you discuss: contributory infringement and induced infringement. Wikipedia has a brief mention. [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ifni (545998) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @07:04PM (#28447481) Homepage

      To me it would be the same as getting a patent on the act of juicing oranges and then asking royalties from every single juice machine manufacturer with the claim, "well it could be used to juice oranges".

      Or going after the recordable media manufacturers and demanding royalties because "it could be used to record copyrighted media." I have complete faith that such things would never come to pass.

      • Your comment needs some clarification. Since we are talking about U.S. patent law, ill stay in that region. In the U.S. there is special blank CD media made for recording music onto CDs using STANDALONE CD recorders. Blank CDs labeled specifically 'for music' have the royalties you describe above attached to it. In Canada, its as you describe.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      The significance is apparently that one is presumably charging for access to a specific hot spot rather than to the other ones in the area. Doesn't make it any more valid, but it does appear to mean commercial services rather than unprotected WAP.
    • by DeskLazer (699263)
      can you please put this in a car analogy for some of us? this is slashdot after all...
  • otherwise this won't last for very long.

  • by Grond (15515) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:48PM (#28447347) Homepage

    There is one key element of the claims that no OS or device that I'm familiar with implements. Specifically, the list of wireless networks presented to the user must include "getting carrier network information from an access point database by the access client using the plurality of carrier network identifiers, wherein the carrier network information includes information indicating whether the access client is authorized to access a carrier network..." In short, the list of networks must include whether or not the client is authorized to access each network.

    To my knowledge, no OS or device does this inherently. They may show that the network is encrypted or that it requires a username and password, but those say nothing about whether the client is authorized (i.e., allowed or permitted) to access the network. Even software that shows that a user is currently connected to a network that requires authentication only implies authorization and then only to that network, not any others.

    So, as I read the patent, most existing software does not seem to infringe. One possible infringer might be the Easy Wi-Fi app for the iPhone, but it has been made obsolete by iPhone OS 3, which auto-authenticates with AT&T hotspots.

    • "In short, the list of networks must include whether or not the client is authorized to access each network."

      So in other words, they patented the impossible. At best they could say that you are authorized to be prompted by a username and password. Since the system doesn't know if I know the password, nor could it ever know if I know and remember my password, it can never work. I am not authorized until I successfully enter my password during the authorization process. The very best it can do is verify i

      • "In short, the list of networks must include whether or not the client is authorized to access each network."

        So in other words, they patented the impossible. At best they could say that you are authorized to be prompted by a username and password. Since the system doesn't know if I know the password, nor could it ever know if I know and remember my password, it can never work. I am not authorized until I successfully enter my password during the authorization process. The very best it can do is verify if I am authorized to attempt to gain authorization from the system ;-)

        I think as soon as you say "they patented the impossible" and "it can never work", you're acknowledging that their method, if it does work, is novel and nonobvious.

    • When I open my laptop in a dense AP area, and check for wireless networks, I see:

      linksys Automatic
      Unsecured wireless network

      dlink Automatic
      Unsecured Wireless network

      store348
      Security Enabled wireless network

      shop
      Security Enabled wireless network (WPA)

      Your security sucks
      Unsecured wireless network

      My Business Network Automatic
      Security Enabled wireless network (WPA)

      See those three "Automatic" labels? That's displayed by checking a database to see if I'm authorized to access that network.

  • Doesn't the fact that WiFi hot spots exist in the first place count as prima facia evidence that there are already in existence methods of selecting and connecting to them? There would be no mobile hot spots if clients couldn't connect!
  • Tear it down (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @07:16PM (#28447577) Homepage

    The US Patent Office should be eliminated. It doesn't serve its intended purpose, and the way patents are reviewed indicates that the people examining them either don't often have a clue on what is obvious or non-obvious, or that there is massive corruption and the finances of the examiners need forensic investigation.

    I think there are way to many lawsuits out there, usually motivated by greed, but is it possible for people to launch a class action lawsuit to simply stop an entity from operating?

    It seems like the concept of free market economy and all-encompassing corporate patents are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

    • Once the economy recovers and the USPTO starts hiring again, you could always apply to work there and fix the system from within.

      • eh, its easier to complain on the internet.

        • Grandparent:

          "Once the economy recovers and the USPTO starts hiring again, you could always apply to work there and fix the system from within."

          Parent:

          "eh, its easier to complain on the internet."

          When you say it is easier, I presume you mean that it is actually possible to complain on the internet. ;-)

    • The US Patent Office should be eliminated. It doesn't serve its intended purpose, and the way patents are reviewed indicates that the people examining them either don't often have a clue on what is obvious or non-obvious, or that there is massive corruption and the finances of the examiners need forensic investigation.

      So, since you're such an expert, please tell us - what is "obvious"?

      • by Cruciform (42896)

        Creating patents that essentially say "on a computer", once you filter down the hyperbole.

        This was incredibly common during the dot-com bubble. Auction sites, stores, etc. It was ridiculous.

        • Creating patents that essentially say "on a computer", once you filter down the hyperbole.

          This was incredibly common during the dot-com bubble. Auction sites, stores, etc. It was ridiculous.

          Yeah, I thought as much. That's not a definition of the legal term "obvious", which requires that the improvement be such that one of ordinary skill in the relevant art could implement it without any need for experimentation.

          Now, yes, some "method x, but on a computer!" inventions would meet that definition, but others wouldn't. For example, look at something like screen scraping. "A method of reading text on a screen, but done by software!" seems really obvious - hell, you're reading text on a screen righ

  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @07:19PM (#28447609) Homepage

    Even if no one had thought of this before (which is not really true), this is the kind of thing that once a need presents itself, hundreds or thousands of people would think up how to do this. This is nowhere near the kind of thing that justifies the patent system concepts (of taking the rights away from possible other inventors because it is a concept that was not likely to have other inventors). The patent system is supposed to reward the inventor for creating something that we would otherwise have not had. But this is a case of something we most certainly would have almost as soon as the need is first experienced. The only advantage of a prior-to-the-need invention in this case is a few weeks lead time on the initial development, at most.

    • And copyright is supposed to benefit the creators of art and give them a reason to create, where's the news? It's been turned upside down as well, turning it into a tool that hinders creation and deters artists from continued creation.

      Both share a few common traits, both are broken, both are used as a tool to keep a stranglehold on competition and customer. And both need a serious overhaul.

  • So basically Boingo can file patent infringement lawsuits against any company that makes Wi-Fi products which show a list of access points within range.
  • This reminds me of McDonald's "how to make a sandwich" patent.
    • by cs_jd3 (1582789)
      Or what about Amazon's one-click patent joke?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click [wikipedia.org]

      It was partially rejected in US recently, now Amazon's trying to "fix" it post-mortem. Never was granted in Europe...

      Are Euros any better at this than the US? Why are our patent laws so lax?
  • Boingo. (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Thalagyrt (851883)

    Boingo is a company that was founded by the founder of Earthlink, Sky Dayton, back in 2001. His idea was to create a nationwide (and later global) network of hotspots, much like Wayport provides. It never took off. The USPTO is slow. Big deal, this isn't a patent troll company. It's a legitimate business that provides a very large network of hotspots. But of course this is Slashdot where nobody actually reads the article or researches what is being talked about and just jumps to conclusions.

    Hell, he rented

    • Re:Boingo. (Score:5, Informative)

      by $pace6host (865145) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:48PM (#28448189) Journal
      I was traveling a bit recently, and a lot of the WiFi hotspots in airports, restaurants and hotels were free (or included with whatever purchase you were already making). Most of the ones that weren't could be accessed with Boingo, so I looked into it a little. It seems that their "innovation" is that they are a network of networks. The actual WiFi service provider that you use might be AT&T or Wayport, but a Boingo subscription gets you access to all of them. I think the patent is intended to cover their method of identifying Boingo-member networks and listing those. They have special software you can download for that, though you don't need it. You can simply use the advertised SSIDs of the WiFi hotspots themselves. Their "innovation" is looking up the SSIDs in the network database for you, to automatically identify which networks are part of Boingo, consolidating the list, and then letting you have preferences as to which networks show up on the top of the list. I prefer open standards myself. I also prefer to places that offer their WiFi for free - so I decided not to subscribe and they can keep their patented technology.
      • by Thalagyrt (851883)

        Ah, I never really fully looked into what Sky was doing with Boingo. That seems kind of pointless in a way.

        Also, whoever modded me, please do explain how I was trolling.

  • This is patent trolling at the worst. While they may have a product that actually uses the technology covered by the patent, the patent will end up serving them more by allowing them to squeeze others for existing products. Patent_troll [wikipedia.org]
  • Sad enough to use a frowny [despair.com]. :-( (TM)

  • by somenickname (1270442) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:03PM (#28448267)

    Boingo Inc. vs. 35:42:11:AA:EA:03, 432 US. 666.

    Lawyer: You connected to a wireless network in Starbucks?
    Defendant: Yes, that's correct.
    Lawyer: No further questions.

  • promise to be more responsible. This patent is ridiculous. It doesn't pass the obviousness test.
  • by Logos (80812) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @11:19PM (#28449021)
    Yes I know, this is /. and no one read the article, let alone the actual patent - however the article (and the /. excerpt) are very misleading about what was patented. Reading the actual [uspto.gov] patent, it appears that the patent was granted on a method for the user to create an account with the patent-holder and then use the patent-holders software to access any number of various for-pay and other wifi hotspots without having to manage the individual credentialing, network configuration and associated billing. I am not a lawyer, or a patent attorney -- and I'm not a big fan of software patents in general -- but this doesn't sound anything like: "patenting wifi hotspot access". More like: "patenting an integrated, account-managed, token passing, billing system for accessing multiple diverse wifi-hotspot vendor systems". I.e. Much narrower and a based on a product built on basic wifi access. In short: Boingo was granted a patent on their software that makes it easier to manage all those wifi accounts you have to set up if you travel a lot and use a bunch of different carriers. Not wifi access in general. The editors should consider amending the front page summary because its very misleading.
    • I believe you're correct. I haven't read the patent, but do I subscribe to Boingo (travel weekly for work) and I've used the software in question -- it will tell the user which networks in range are Boingo affiliates, and allows them to log into those networks using their Boingo accounts, regardless of who actually operates the network in question.
  • ...I'm okay with this superfluous patent.

    Normally, I'd be outraged (okay, maybe just irritated) with patenting something this silly. But if the end result is the prevention of somebody reproducing Boingo's client, we all win.

    The Boingo client is just another resident program that adds nothing useful to the desktop environment. It just delays my boot up time, takes up memory, and occasionally crashes or updates itself. If I wanted that, I'd get Adobe Reader, thanks.

    When I rush through an airport and want

  • Why can't people just find an *honest* way to earn a living any more? F'ing losers...

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