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Patents Encryption

Intuit Beats SSL Patent Troll That Defeated Newegg 59

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-late-than-never dept.
Last fall, Newegg lost a case against patent troll TQP for using SSL with RC4, despite arguments from Diffie of Diffie-Hellman key exchange. Intuit was also targeted by a lawsuit for infringing the same patent, and they were found not to be infringing. mpicpp (3454017) sends this excerpt from Ars: U.S. Circuit Judge William Bryson, sitting "by designation" in the Eastern District of Texas, has found in a summary judgment ruling (PDF) that the patent, owned by TQP Development, is not infringed by the two defendants remaining in the case, Intuit Corp. and Hertz Corp. In a separate ruling (PDF), Bryson rejected Intuit's arguments that the patent was invalid. Not a complete victory (a clearly bogus patent is still not invalidated), but it's a start.
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Intuit Beats SSL Patent Troll That Defeated Newegg

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:27AM (#47324141)

    Q: "How do you know so much about key exchange?"
    A: "I invented it in the 70s."
    Q: "Fail, you lose."

    -vs-

    Q: "How can you prove this is prior art?"
    A: "Blah-biddy blah blah legal legal blah."
    Q: "Seems legit. Intuit wins."

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:34AM (#47324193)

    it's the patents that are bogus. Judges need to invalidate more patents, they need to invalidate all software patents.

    But we're talking about Eastern District of Texas

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:40AM (#47324259) Journal

    Many software patents are valid and novel. Software is a description of an algorithm to do a thing. Some software patents are well-known algorithms implemented on a computer, which has no standing; others are brand new algorithms, which are mathematical processes people have discovered to accomplish tasks.

    Many compression algorithms use new techniques to achieve better results, especially with lossy encoding. The original JPEG algorithm used a Discrete Cosine Transform to change color into a precision-driven space, which you could then simply cut precision away from and compress more readily. The transformation of color intensity values per pixel to a more general mapping using the same space but able to approximate was novel. AAC uses an audio technique which biases a PRNG to produce something perceptually similar to the original even though it's technically noise, another novel technique.

    These are no different than using a screw, but in a car engine, in the exhaust stream, as a turbine to drive a forced air aspirator. At the time, the concept of using a turbine to power forced air induction from the waste heat of the engine was novel (exhaust stream would have no pressure if you chilled it to intake temperature). Hell, an integrated circuit is just a PCB, but built out of etched substrate.

  • "Clearly bogus"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:47AM (#47324319)

    Can someone please explain why the original patent is "clearly bogus"? Just because it's being wrongly applied to situations it was never meant to cover doesn't make the patent itself wrong.

    If Swingline uses stapler patents to sue Mozilla over pinning browser tabs, that doesn't invalidate the stapler patents themselves. (Does it?)

  • by N7DR (536428) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:55AM (#47324413) Homepage

    it's the patents that are bogus. Judges need to invalidate more patents, they need to invalidate all software patents.

    Putting aside the entire issue of software patents, the legal standards for invalidating a patent are rather high. I have seen many patents which we would all likely agree should be invalidated either for obviousness or because there's prior art; but actually meeting the necessary criteria to prove that conclusively to a judge or jury would have been impossible.

    It has evolved this way because of the built-in assumption that the Patent Office does its job correctly, and therefore patents are assumed by courts to be valid and there is a fairly heavy burden imposed to prove otherwise. If the assumption is valid, then this isn't an obviously-bad system; but if it isn't valid, then it quickly becomes an expensive, frustrating situation for defendants.

  • by nomanisanisland (3617737) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:18AM (#47324631)

    The ability to create many copies of something for virtually free has nothing to do with whether it is patentable or not. Abstract mathematical formulas and algorithms are not patentable, but their application in something tangible is patentable.

    The real issue isn't whether software patents as a class are valid or not in general - they are under current laws, even though some specific cases are not - no, the real issue is whether they should be patentable going forward. People forget that the concept of patents aren't an innate or natural right, but rather something invented for the purpose of incentizing R&D, and disclosing the invention so that others can see how it works instead of it being a trade secret. The question is if those benefits would not happen if there were no patents for software.

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