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Lodsys Now Suing EA, Atari, Rovio and More

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the love of god, amend your patent lawsuit requirements.

    • These are federal suits.

      The problem isn't Texas laws, it's the judges in the Federal Courthouse of the Eastern District of Texas and their interpretation of Federal laws.

      The only thing "Texans" have to do with it are they make up the jury for the cases that do go to trial, and (by definition, unless they commute from another state) the Judges who serve there are currently Texans, even though many of them may not have lived in Texas prior to accepting their current appointment.

      This courthouse needs to look a

      • If what amounts to a branch office of the fedurrl gubmint isn't doing it right, why can't the FG just, in effect, fire them?

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          They are doing it right.

        • You can't fire federal judges without cause, it's unconstitutional.

          "The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office." - The Constitution Of The United States, Article III, Section 1.

          • by CrazyDuke (529195)

            "You can't fire federal judges without cause, it's unconstitutional."

            For some reason, this reminded me of a line that went something like, "... But, some animals are more equal than others."

          • If they're 'not doing it right', then that is cause.
            • You can't fire them as long as they "hold their Offices during good Behaviour" - basically don't do anything that's against the law. Interpreting the constitution in a way not to your liking doesn't qualify.

              On the other hand, impeaching a sitting judge, or a President for that matter, is a matter of politics not law. If Congress passed a clearly unconstitutional law saying "thou shalt not wear white after Labor Day" and a judge did so, the House could impeach him and the Senate could convict, and the judg

              • Then perhaps that's half the problem. If you can't replace a judge for being an idiot and letting frivolous cases go through once they obtain their position of power then something is obviously wrong with the system.. No one anywhere should ever be above reproach once they obtain a position of authority or power. No one.
                • by bluemonq (812827)

                  The issue then is, who gets the right to remove a judge, and how would you go about removing them without then allowing folks to remove judges for purely political reasons?

                  • Letting people remove judges for purely political reasons shouldn't matter anywhere near as much in a true democracy as letting a judge have supreme power and be immune from ccountability
                    • *accountability
                    • What's a "true democracy"?

                    • by Luckyo (1726890)

                      So in other words, you want judges that will kiss corporate asses more the politicians do nowadays? They already own 2/3 parts of the system (executive and legislature), and a rather large portion of third.

                      The entire point behind three-way power separation is to allow judges to be irremovable so long as they follow the law. This means that they can make decisions that go against both popular opinion and political power. I.e. "hey, we're gonna lynch that nigga', and if you don't let us, you're voted out!". U

                    • A system of government where the citizens rule and are able to make such decisions as removing someone's title of judge for being an idiot
                    • by Khyber (864651)

                      "it can't make a new one"

                      This isn't entirely true. There is case law, which is part of stare decisis. The Judicial branch can not only effectively make a new law (revoking the old one as unconstitutional during the course of a legal procedure,) it can nullify or amend that law via judicial decisions or precedent.

                    • by Luckyo (1726890)

                      None of the examples listed come anywhere close to actually "making a new law", which is what you're suggesting. Instead you're referring to the right of court to make amendments to laws based on constitution - which is the entire point of having constitution in the first place. That is to have a law that is above normal legislature, that sets out basic principles around which society runs, and that can't be easily changed no matter how much legislative branch would want.

                    • Current situation in Texas is because LEGISLATIVE branch has fucked up and allowed too broad implementation of the laws. Court merely interprets the existing law, WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE LAW - it can't make a new one.

                      It doesn't matter who or what allows it. Texas is making the choice, and it's vastly out of line with everywhere else.

                    • by Luckyo (1726890)

                      Yet it's IN LINE with the law. Which is what matters in the eyes of the court. And law isn't made in Texas.

                    • These judges are Federal judges, in Federal court, ruling on Federal laws. Stop blaming Texas for Federal problems (unless you are helping us secede).
                    • If it was a Federal problem, the problem would be the same everywhere. It isn't. That's because people everywhere apart from Shitville TX are endowed with some common sense.

                      Just because a law is phrased to allow a perverse interpretation (if you're looking for one) doesn't imply an obligation to do so.

      • The problem isn't Texas laws, it's the judges in the Federal Courthouse of the Eastern District of Texas and their interpretation of Federal laws.

        This article [tylertxdirectory.com] suggests that they are part of the problem: the jurors are predisposed to award big settlements to the plaintiffs. I would guess that with so many lawyers setting up shop there, and the area getting plenty of cash from this industry that some locals with economic interests at stake would do their best to ensure it doesn't change. I'd be surprised if those patent attorneys didn't hire lobbyists, for example.

        I have heard from somewhere that for the defendants there is at least one advantage

      • The problem is that people want to believe that because things are being done on a computer, they don't have to follow the law. Lodsys appears to be in the right here, Slashdot hatred of patents notwithstanding.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          You seem to know a little about it, so answer me something if you will...does Lodsys make anything with the patents in question? if the answer is "no" then they are what is wrong with the system and need to fuck right off.

          Patents were supposed to protect the little guy from having some corp go "nice idea, we'll just take it LOL!" and helping themselves. it was NOT meant for vultures to come along buying up dead companies so they can become a lawsuit factory.

          Now I don't know anything about this Lodsys comp

      • by Anonymous Coward

        These are federal suits.

        The problem isn't Texas laws, it's the judges in the Federal Courthouse of the Eastern District of Texas and their interpretation of Federal laws.

        The only thing "Texans" have to do with it are they make up the jury for the cases that do go to trial, and (by definition, unless they commute from another state) the Judges who serve there are currently Texans, even though many of them may not have lived in Texas prior to accepting their current appointment.

        This courthouse needs to look at what the rest of the country is doing and have rules and practices similar enough to the rest of the country that it stops becomeing a magnet for such lawsuits.

        Then can we say people from Texas are dumb?

        • You can say anything you like. Maybe they are making a mockery of your system, hoping you'll get tired of it and leave?
  • by headkase (533448) on Friday July 22, 2011 @05:24PM (#36851880)
    Wouldn't the fact that everyone is infringing on the patent have something to say about "being obvious to someone skilled in the field.."?
    • There are many things which are not "being obvious to someone skilled in the field" but which are easy and cheap to duplicate once the original invention has been made and published.

      The "obvious" test pretty much requires you get a bunch of people who had approximately the same knowledge as the experts at the time of the invention itself but no knowledge of the invention then see what they come up with. If a significant number come up with something similar to the invention, then in lay terms, it's obvious

      • by GGardner (97375)

        There are many things which are not "being obvious to someone skilled in the field" but which are easy and cheap to duplicate once the original invention has been made and published.

        That may be true, but consider that Lodsys hasn't made anything, and I guarantee you the Rovio developers hadn't read the patent before they wrote their games.

        • by erroneus (253617)

          That and the fact that any kind of online purchasing is prior art and that pretty much predates the public internet as we know it.

          "In App..." sounds a lot like "...over the internet" types of patents. For that matter, take a few samples from Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham and put the word "purchase" in front of any preposition.

          It's ridiculous to patent something essentially based on its location or position at the moment. I imagine someone made a killing by patenting "pay at the pump" though.

      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        Here's my view of this.

        There are many things which are not "being obvious to someone skilled in the field" but which are easy and cheap to duplicate once the original invention has been made and published.

        Since the person doing the copying saw the invention, then it might be even OK if the original author is compensated. However most patents aren't read or published in trade magazines, so most of infringement comes from independent implementation.

    • by mochan_s (536939) on Friday July 22, 2011 @07:09PM (#36853106)

      I would say : Wouldn't the fact that everyone is infringing on the patent without ever being aware or having heard of such a patent existing have something to say about "being obvious to someone skilled in the field.."?

      I have to correct so many of my colleagues who say something to the tune of I'm going to work on this problem, produce a great result that's patentable and profit, to which I say you can patent anything. Suppose you are writing an algorithm to process data for some scenario X, you can patent something like the use of a data structure that enables the processing in scenario X - you can break it down into multiple claims that say data structures for holding parameters, for holding temporary data or for holding the kitchen sink. Of course, it's obvious that a data structure has to be used somewhere in the process in the algorithm for scenario X but the patent is worthless unless scenario X starts occurring so frequently that it's worthy to have spent the money acquiring the patent.

      So, software patents aren't really patents of a solution to a problem, they are sort of a recognition that a problem is or will be important. Take Amazon's one click patent. The implementation is obvious but the value in the patent is that people want to buy things with 1 click.

      • by Tharsman (1364603)

        I would say : Wouldn't the fact that everyone is infringing on the patent without ever being aware or having heard of such a patent existing have something to say about "being obvious to someone skilled in the field.."?

        The "without ever being aware" is key in how patents work. You dont have to know about them to infringe them. The key, though is, a patent you can infringe accidentally by just typing a URL into a control, should really be considered trivial and invalidated.

        Fun thing is, anyone with a brain that examines the case will likely at least dismiss the ad linking cases as not infringing, you have to apply that patent extremely loosely to dare claim such an action actually steps inside the patent. The problem is surviving the court battle without going bankrupt.

        My guess on the current state of this case is that they are very well aware they will loose the case if Apple is allowed to step into the case, so what they are now doing is going after anyone they can to get settlements as soon as possible since a settlement is a legal contract that is not broken by loosing a case against another party. So in theory, if you agree to pay these guys their fees, and sign any paperwork agreeing to do so, and they loose their patent in the lawsuit, it wont be trivial matter to stop paying them.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      in app licensing is pretty old on mobiles. their patent better be from the 90's.

  • Let me just say this: Lolololololol.

    That is all.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Friday July 22, 2011 @05:27PM (#36851946)
    This will not end well for you (hopefully)
  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Friday July 22, 2011 @05:40PM (#36852128)

    Is it just me or are these lawsuits just getting more and more ridiculous? What will it take before patent laws are thrown out the window and replaced with something sane?

    I'm waiting to see companies go bankrupt and lives be destroyed over this idiocy. I expect people won't actually wake up until some distraught small business owner goes postal and slaughters a bunch of people.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday July 22, 2011 @06:03PM (#36852452) Journal

      What will it take before patent laws are thrown out the window and replaced with something sane?

      We're at 40 years of the War on Drug Users and counting. There's literally nothing so egregious that the American people will not stand for it. Expect to see patent and copyright infringement become criminal acts in the next decade or two. Copyright infringement is halfway there already.

    • by Jim Hall (2985)

      Is it just me or are these lawsuits just getting more and more ridiculous? What will it take before patent laws are thrown out the window and replaced with something sane? I'm waiting to see companies go bankrupt and lives be destroyed over this idiocy. I expect people won't actually wake up until some distraught small business owner goes postal and slaughters a bunch of people.

      I've said this before on slashdot, and I'll say it again here: the problem with software patents will not go away unless people

    • by gonz (13914) on Friday July 22, 2011 @06:18PM (#36852624)

      Actually companies like Lodsys are doing a great job of raising awareness about the weaknesses of the current system. It's great to hear that they're going after big name companies with lobbying power, rather than hurting small businesses.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah... my small company is being hit by a troll based out of the Eastern District right now. It will likely drive us out of business like many others small (US based) businesses. Our situation is a bit interesting in that the patent being used to stop us from doing business applies only to a small portion of our products that just happen to compete head-on with a much larger company in a very specific industry.

      The patent is extremely broad/obvious/talks-in-circles, but the cost to defend ourselves will p

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        The scenario you just described is the entire point, and design of the software patent laws. They, like many specialized laws were essentially written by industry lobbyists. The main goal is to lock small competition out completely. This is bound to be very profitable, as you're discovering because it means that they don't even have to develop superior product to compete.

      • by Ant P. (974313)

        Please write an article about this for the front page. Anonymity is what lets these parasites and the ones they operate on behalf of get away with it.

      • We're not happy about it. Our customer isn't happy about it. And soon, about a dozen US workers will be added to the jobless pool. Another win for the lawyers and the USPTO.

        Your most effective weapon may be getting this more widely covered in the media (i.e. the court of public opinion). Speak with your local papers and see if they would be willing to run a story. If a local paper runs a story then it might be picked up by a national news organization and run in front of an even larger audience. Sometimes public shame and bad PR changes minds at big corporations much more easily than a long and obscure legal battle (which you cannot afford anyway). You may have to go to a cons

    • by Lando (9348)

      Well, I've worked for two companies that went out of business because of patent trolls. The first one didn't get through litigation before going bankrupt, the second won, but didn't have enough money to go back to court to have the injunction lifted that the original judge placed on the product.

      As for getting more ridiculous, I still can't believe that one-click checkout survived and was upheld as a valid patent.

    • Is it just me or are these lawsuits just getting more and more ridiculous? What will it take before patent laws are thrown out the window and replaced with something sane?

      I'd say be very afraid of what you're asking for. If (and when?) the patents system gets overhauled I can definitely see MAFIAA trying to push for the possibility of patenting plot items, filming and instrument-playing techniques, certain tunes and so on. They won't get everything through, but they MOST DEFINITELY will get something through, and that's when the sh*t really hits the fan.

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      What will it take before patent laws are thrown out the window and replaced with something sane?

      I completely agree with you. A long and calculated campaign of murdering the people responsible for perpetuating this fucked up state of affairs is the only thing that will change this. You can't fight people in the business of exploiting the legal system through that same system.

    • WTH is Apple doing about all this? Didn't they send an email to Lodsys?
  • So either EA loses, or a patent troll loses. I think we can all agree that this is a win-win situation.
    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      If EA loses, most iOS and Android developers lose. As far as EA cares, a loss will be a minor annoyance. So don't think this would be anywhere near a "win-win."

  • ...of going after the low-hanging fruit.

  • And right after Microsoft's new game console comes out, Lodsys sues all the game developers.

    Is that the way it works?

    • They are suing companies for the use of in-app purchasing. I would presume that the list of companies sued are those that are making games for those platforms which have such functionality (currently iOS and Android?).
       

      • MS games have in-app purchasing. I just upgraded the arcade game "Sonic Adventure" to "Sonic Adventure DX" (Director's Cut) from within the game. Sure, it required a stop over at the Marketplace to confirm the purchase -- but thereafter I was returned to the still running regular release of the game. I played until the "(X) Download Complete: Sonic Adventure DX" message popped up in the game and I pressed the indicated button to select the "Play Now" option for the "Upgrade".

        Many Xbox360 games have DL

  • I hate to say this, but I'm not a big fan of playing a game that I have to pay more cash to get items.

    So while I hate patent trolls, I'm not going to cry a river for the companies that think they should get more money for stuff that they would of put in the game in the first place.

  • The problem with the patent law in the Federal Court of Eastern Texas cannot just solved with a democratic vote, because the law is not entirely democratic, but depends previous legal precedents in that jurisdiction. Even if there is legal reform, the reform does not overturn previous legal precedents retroactively. One must understand that federal civil litigation is quite different from criminal procedure. Intellectual property law depends as much on property law and common law for the judges interpret

  • I remember arcade games that used to put up a message "Insert coin to continue" and then a countdown timer would start. That must have been back in the 80s.

    • by julesh (229690)

      I remember arcade games that used to put up a message "Insert coin to continue" and then a countdown timer would start. That must have been back in the 80s.

      The patent (odd that nobody's linked it AFAICT) will probably include as one of its requirements that a remote server is contacted and data downloaded from it. I don't think any of those 80s games did that, but most modern in-game-purchasing systems do.

  • A patent troll suing EA? This is like a cage death match between Hanson and The Spice Girls. Who wins? Humanity!
  • Do they know what they just got themselves into? Seriously, EA alone has enough lawyers to keep them in an infinite loop in the courts for the next couple of years. All EA has to do is keep their lawyers in court until Lodsys goes bankrupt and we'll be done with this mess. Then again, EA could go the easy route and just use their lawyers to smash them like a bug.

    Wow, I can't believe that I want EA to win here.

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