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Xerox Sues Google, Yahoo Over Search Patents 202

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the yet-apple-walks-away-free dept.
gnosygnus writes "Xerox Corp has sued Google, Inc. and Yahoo, Inc., accusing them of infringing the document management company's patents related to Internet search. In a lawsuit filed last Friday in the US District Court in Delaware, Xerox said Google's Web-based services, such as Google Maps, YouTube and AdSense advertising software, as well as Web tools including Yahoo Shopping, infringe patents granted as far back as 2001. Xerox seeks compensation for past infringement and asked the court to halt the companies from further using the technology."
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Xerox Sues Google, Yahoo Over Search Patents

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  • Can someone help? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:17PM (#31261260) Journal

    Anyone have a link to this patent? The summary fails to accurately describe what it is they patented - though the impression I get is... Practically Everything?

  • by Shadowhawk (30195) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:20PM (#31261298)
    My guess is that Xerox isn't looking for any big payout, but rather some kind of cross-licensing deal for patents.
  • Article summary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:21PM (#31261316)

    "We want your cake too. And it'll cost us less in legal fees than the potential benefit. That's a mighty nice website you have there. It would be a shame if anything were to...happen... to it. Probable result: cross-licensing agreement to patent portfolio to lock out smaller competitors, higher costs for consumers in countries with strong IP laws. "

  • by calibre-not-output (1736770) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#31261454) Homepage
    I recognize their historical importance in IT, but the past is past. Whoever is calling their shots now is acting like a patent troll. This isn't the first time, either.
  • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#31261458) Homepage
    I agree, but not because they are suing for patent violation. I agree, because they waited almost 10 years to enforce this patent. Why the wait? Presumably these companies were in violation for longer than just the past year or 2. And it's not like they can say that they "just found out that they existed"...
  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmai l . com> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:35PM (#31261540)

    And once upon a time SCO was a respectable Unix vendor.

  • by raddan (519638) * on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:45PM (#31261698)
    Yeah, it sounds to me like Xerox is facing increasing irrelevancy, and has decided to turn to litigation as a new revenue stream. I [ugh, sadly] do a lot of purchasing of office equipment, and now that I think of it, I have not even once considered a Xerox product in the last 6 years that I've worked here. I'm not even sure what they're up to anymore.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:49PM (#31261772)

    Good times, but how the mighty have fallen these days. I for one miss the idea of a pure research group.

    Yeah ... no kidding. Put Bell Laboratories on the short list as well.

  • by spidercoz (947220) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:53PM (#31261820) Journal
    Science, logic, critical thinking, simple human decency...notice that the 21st Century seems to be going the opposite direction all the popular old sci-fi said it would? We should sue.
  • by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:55PM (#31261862)

    I can: PATENT TROLL.

    I know it's in vogue here on Slashdot to scream "Troll!" anytime a patent holder sues for infringement, but "patent troll" really means something distinct from "patent suit."

    From the Wiki, a patent troll is someone who:
    * Purchases a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sues another company by claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent;
    * Enforces patents against purported infringers without itself intending to manufacture the patented product or supply the patented service;
    * Enforces patents but has no manufacturing or research base
    * Focuses its efforts solely on enforcing patent rights.
    * Asserts patent infringement claims against non-copiers or against a large industry that is composed of non-copiers

    TFA and TFS are thin on details, so there is no evidence to support the idea that Xerox is doing any one of these.

  • by JamesP (688957) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:01PM (#31261966)

    Too bad management at PARC were too retarded to profit from what the guys (and gals) there invented (they were 10 years ahead)

    researchers: "We've invented the GUI, OO programming, etc, etc"
    managers "hurr durr durr what's that hurrrr"

  • Re:Timeframe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:11PM (#31262108) Homepage

    Actually, no, you can't sit on it and expect to be able to enforce it like you imply.

    You don't lose the patent like you do with Trademark- but if you delay, the range of things that ends up happening goes from no damages to an inability to enforce against the infringers that you didn't enforce against during the time you "sat on it". Subsequent infringers can be enforced against during the life of the patent- but not the others if you delay any substantive time on it from the moment that the infringement becomes obvious to you or should have been so.

  • by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:13PM (#31262150) Homepage

    I'm not cutting them any slack. Roughly 7+ years to determine if they're infringing and not enforcing their rights is a bit beyond the pale and is very probably subject to equitable estoppel out of the gate. They very probably shouldn't have ran this one up the flagpole in the first place- and it's very, very patent-trolly. Patent trolls do not get an out no matter what their past contributions might have been.

  • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:17PM (#31262206) Homepage
    Even at that, more than 2 or 3 years, and I call troll. Either that, or incompetent leadership. Can you say that a negotiation that lasted for presumably as much as 6 to 10 years broke down initiating this suit? Plus, they filed suits against multiple parties. If they did one today, and another in 6 months than your theory would be much more plausible. But as it appears now, I can't see how it can be anything but "troll".
    1. "Innovate" an interesting idea, patent it, and do nothing with it
    2. Wait for others to independently develop the same idea, and do nothing about it
    3. Wait for others' products to launch, and do nothing about it
    4. Wait for others' products to gain market penetration, then sue their asses off for infringement
    5. Profit

    If there's a better definition of a troll, I don't know what it is...

  • by Rob Y. (110975) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:20PM (#31262268)

    ...They practically invented the GUI.
    ...and if they'd be able to patent it, we'd still all be running DOS, since Xerox never came out with a GUI product. Such is the power of software patents to drive innovation (into the ground).

  • Re:Go America! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:31PM (#31262414) Journal

    What did Xerox do with this particular bit of "innovative" property.

    Patent it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:40PM (#31262548)

    Xerox has done a lot of innovating. They have also quite famously totally failed to properly DO anything with the things they've created. We could have had something akin to Java a lot earlier in the form of Smalltalk-80. Xerox in their "wisdom" decided to charge a king's ransom for it forever enshrining it in it's ivory tower. It took Apple, Microsoft and Amiga, Inc to bring the windowed interface to the world, despite Xerox having the working system right in front of them (again, in the form of Smalltalk-80).

    So Xerox missed the boat...nay, the entire 20 year revolution of home computers and business computing without so much as a "duh?" Guess there's not much left to do but become the next great patent troll, now that SCO is out of the picture. See Bing in that lawsuit anywhere? Of course not...look not behind the curtain, mortal.

  • by abigor (540274) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:47PM (#31262634)

    You are right, how could I forget. I really love Smalltalk the language, but I'm less keen on the whole "modify the image" thing. I'm sure it would have been a lot more successful if it were file-based.

  • by Creepy (93888) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:55PM (#31262726) Journal

    Well, no - since the GUI would have been patented in the 1970s and at that time the law gave protection for 17 years from the date of publication (and usually took 3 years to get published - current law is 20 years from filing). GUIs didn't really become popular until the late 1980s and that would have been near the end of any patent for it, so it may have delayed the GUI, but not killed it. Some hardware patents Xerox showed off such as the mouse would have already been near end of patent by the 1980s (invented in the 1960s).

        I'm not saying software patents don't suck - I don't think people should be able to patent, say, how to do the Navier Stokes equations for fluid dynamics in software and on graphics hardware, which has been done multiple times (and the methods are trivially obvious in some cases - one hardware accelerated patent I saw was essentially implementing an expired software patent in hardware). OTOH, if you INVENTED the Navier Stokes equations, then sure - allow a patent that can apply to software. I also don't think an idea itself should be patentable, either - for instance, I remember Woz talking about when he made characters display on a screen and then later getting sued by a TV manufacturer that had patented the idea - there needs to be some practical plan to implement it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @03:07PM (#31262856)

    Xerox is notable for failing to commercialise or profit from PARC's accomplishments, including the invention of the gui, laser printing, bit-mapped graphics, the mouse, and Ethernet. It is the most monumental example of dropping the ball that I can think of.

    Or, you could say that Xerox is notable for taking a portion of its profits, and philanthropically donating them to society at large through PARC's accomplishments. It is one of the most monumental examples of enriching society through technical innovation that I can think of.

    All depends on whether you want to dump on Xerox or praise them. Personally, I admire them for their efforts, and how they freely gave the results away for others to reuse. I wish more companies "dropped the ball" like this; it'd probably result in a much richer economy.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @04:06PM (#31263710)

    Simpler solution: Besides all the other problems with them (like the inability of the patent office to tell what is an "invention"), software patents are a net drag on the economy, therefore they should be eliminated.

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison

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