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DVD-by-Mail Services Cleared In Patent Troll Case 73

Posted by timothy
from the in-the-mail-system-no-one-knows-you're-a-dog dept.
eldavojohn writes "Media Queue holds the rights to patent 7389243 which is simply a patent on the notification system (like e-mail) to users of changes in the status of their DVD rental queues. Of course, they filed suit in a random place against Netflix, Blockbuster and everyone else sending e-mail updates about DVD-by-Mail services. It was later moved to California and was dismissed last week. In related news on the ailing patent system, the USPTO unveiled a new plan to reduce backlog in its system by offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application."
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DVD-by-Mail Services Cleared In Patent Troll Case

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  • Common sense? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by X.25 (255792)

    It is incredible that we have laws for everything, but judges are seemingly not allowed to simply use common sense.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Define common sense.

      The problem with USPTO new proposal is probably going to be more patent applications. People are going to submit two, and then cancel the second one, suddenly giving special status to the other one. If you are a patent troll, then it is worth the risk.

      • by X.25 (255792)

        Define common sense.

        That is the whole point. Common sense can not be defined, and it can't be put into laws and regulations.

        Common sense would be judge saying "Get lost" when case like this even comes to the court.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Manax (41161)
          You are being simplistic. Just because you don't understand any of the details behind a case, doesn't mean the case is really "obvious".

          It's easy to only have a couple of details of a case, and come to a snap decision, and claim that it's "obvious" and groan about how if only someone would apply "common sense"...

          Reality is often more complicated. Case in point. Woman burns herself with coffee from McD. If you only have that information, maybe you blame the woman, but it turns out there are more detail
      • Re:Common sense? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@NosPaM.cornell.edu> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:25AM (#30364784) Homepage

        If you RTFA, it appears they are only applying this to outstanding patent applications filed before October 1, 2009.

        • by cmiller173 (641510) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:27AM (#30364810)
          RTFA? Thats just crazy talk!
        • by Thansal (999464)

          FTFA.
          Use 2 seconds of this "common sense" that every one is complaining that no one uses.

          Yes, the patent system is horrible currently, that doesn't mean that the people in charge are TOTAL morons and wouldn't think of this idea.

        • True, but ...

          "The procedure is being temporarily implemented and will only be effective until February 28, 2010. Upon review, the Office may extend the procedure in time or may extend the set of applicants that will be able to file for special status under the procedure."

          Just vague enough to allow the possibility of another round of this procedure. It could just mean they retain the option to extend the Feb 28 filing deadline. Or, it could mean that they extend the Oct 1 cutoff, the possibility of which

      • Of course you missed the next part, refile the patent that was pulled, perhaps with a minor change.
      • What makes you think having the "special status" is going to be any better then regular status? This is the patent office we are talking about.

    • by Joutsa (267330)

      Allowing judges to use common sense is not really different from allowing them make arbitrary decisions based on their gut feeling, prejudice, bribes, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Clover_Kicker (20761)

      The legal system constrains judges by design.

      If you give them too much leeway they might abuse it, not enough leeway and they are forced to do nonsensical things (insert favorite mandatory minimum story here).

      The legal system has been trying to find the right balance for a long time, the system we have in English speaking countries is a bastardized mongrel that has been evolving since the Norman Conquest.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        I think part of the problem is that to be a judge you have to work your way up through the sharktank of lawyerdom first, where your primary obligation is to go for your client by every trick in the book that isn't unethical or illegal.

        Boom, suddenly you are a custodian of justice itself. Big change. Almost like if the worlds best boxers were suddenly hired as referees at the Golden Gloves.

        Maybe if we hired judges that were trained AS JUDGES instead of career lawyers we might have some sense.

        • by timothyf (615594)

          I dunno, I'd personally think that having judges that know all the tricks is a good thing. Why would they have any reason to favor a lawyer who tried to pull those tricks on them?

    • by shentino (1139071)

      You would think that smart juries would be a good thing.

      Yet for some reason BOTH sides want them dumb.

      Which just goes to show you the courtroom is just a dignified arena.

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:17AM (#30365522) Journal

    Everyone knows that if you're going to try to enforce your ridiculous patent, you don't file suit in your own jurisdiction or the defendants jurisdication. Real patent trolls file in the Eastern District of Texas. Had they done that, they would have gotten their settlement.

    • Everyone knows that if you're going to try to enforce your ridiculous patent, you don't file suit in your own jurisdiction or the defendants jurisdication. Real patent trolls file in the Eastern District of Texas. Had they done that, they would have gotten their settlement.

      Well, its worth noting that the judge before which the case was being heard up until that same judge granted Netflix's motion for a change of venue to the Northern District of California issued an order that "the Rules of Practice for Pat

    • Everyone knows that if you're going to try to enforce your ridiculous patent, you don't file suit in your own jurisdiction or the defendants jurisdication. Real patent trolls file in the Eastern District of Texas. Had they done that, they would have gotten their settlement.

      Exactly. File in E.D. of Texas, where nothing any tech company would care to touch is (a bunch of woods all within 3 hours of Houston, Dallas, or Shreveport, LA so no real reason for field offices/etc there). While Texas has lots of tech firms in the DFW, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston metros (the major cities of the 3 other court districts), the ED is pretty much a no man's land. If they had to file in say the West District in Austin or the North District in Dallas, they'd be screwed as the pool of ju

  • USPTO is a joke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thelonious (233200)
    Half of the things they allow as patents are in my opinion common sense applications of technology that should not be limited in it's usage. A patent for updating customers via email notification that DVD order status has changed? Brings to mind Microsoft's patent on displaying images based on file creation date or some other such 'duh' idea. The fact that companies can get these patents just seems utterly ridiculous. Wasn't Amazon at one time in a patent dispute over their 'one click buying' which esse
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      ...you end up with someone that doesn't even know what a cookie is.

      Nonsense! Everyone knows what a cookie is!

      My favorite is a nice, soft chocolate chip right out of the oven.

  • This is dumb (Score:1, Redundant)

    From the summary: "the USPTO unveiled a new plan to reduce backlog in its system by offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application."

    Dumb!

    They're basically saying, if you want your patent examined fast, submit some other "dummy" patent applications that you can then abandon as needed to get special status. They don't understand that telling people to submit more patent applications if they want faster service will result in more work, not

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Yeah, and if you hurry now you can submit that dummy application before the 10/1/2009 deadline!

      Oh wait...

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