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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 @10:27AM (#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 Anonymous Coward

      judges are stupid

      Judges merely pattern-match against statutes and case law, and logic is absolutely not allowed to override either of the latter. In that specific sense, yes, judges indeed cannot act intelligently, because any intelligence they may possess must be suppressed to remain within the M.O. of their profession.

      No judge could ever pass the Turing Test under such mental shackles. The normal M.O. of law is a disaster for humanity, an otherwise semi-rational species.

      • by sg_oneill (159032)

        Having worked in courts many years this is the biggest load of horseshit. Judges are some of the most fearlessly intelligent people you'll meet. The problem is the laws they have to apply tend to be arse, and they are oft required to rule on fields they have no expertise on. Making a shitty judgement in that situation isn't a sign of unintelligence, it's just the hand that's been dealt.

    • Which proves you can't read and/or don't understand the subject matter. Even the summary clearly says Intuit won on non-infringement, not on invalidity.

  • by X10 (186866) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:28AM (#47324145) Homepage

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

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:34AM (#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

      • Exactly, my first thought on reading this was the the venue had to be reported incorrectly. A patent troll got slapped down in the Eastern District of Texas. How could that have happened?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572)

      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

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Software is a description of an algorithm to do a thing.

        An algorithm is a description to do a thing too.

        So why can't you patent math but you can patent math? All algorithmic patents (math, software, crypto, whatever you call it), should not be allowed. Period. Patents were suppose to be to cover your R&D, not someone's ideas that do not require R&D. (and please, don't bother mentioning how software companies managed to classify their entire wages as "R&D" in the financial statements)

        Your examples are evidence that software patents are bullshit. It ta

      • by JMZero (449047)

        I agree with you in principle (and I think it's silly you got marked troll). To me the test for a patent's validity should be vaguely: assuming you wanted to do X, would a skilled person with access to relevant area knowledge quickly or obviously come up with solution Y. In the cases you've listed, I think the answer is "no" - and those smell like valid, patentable ideas (though I couldn't actually judge without knowing the landscape and what was common knowledge/technique at the times of invention). How

        • If nobody has started doing X in a certain way, you have one of two situations. Either that method is novel and non-obvious, or that method is of no value. Either way, I don't have a real problem with patenting it.

          If your method is well-known and you patent it in a new venue, you are fucking retarded. A process is still the same process on a computer, so you can't patent it unless it's a completely new process that hasn't been used for that purpose before. If you calculate the back-of-a-napkin math p

          • by JMZero (449047)

            Yeah certainly. I don't necessarily think they need a new or different test, just to be more rigorous; if they could filter out "obvious" consistently I think that would pretty much solve things (especially if terms were also shorter).

            But in practice, there seems to be a lot of bad ones get through - and perhaps more sweeping reform is the only way to fix it.

    • by N7DR (536428) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:55AM (#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 sjames (1099)

        The problem is that the USPTO assumes the courts can work out the validity for them and they rubber stamp things when they don't have a relevant expert in the art (or if they're busy, or it's Tuesday).

        • The problem is that the USPTO assumes the courts can work out the validity for them and they rubber stamp things when they don't have a relevant expert in the art (or if they're busy, or it's Tuesday).

          The USPTO "rubber stamps" applications [rejected] around 85% of the time [askmeip.com]. It seems more like they're assuming that everything is invalid.

          • by sjames (1099)

            That's the first action non-final ruling. Once you prove you're serious by appealing the matter, you get the approved stamp.

            Look at the allowance rates in the same article and recall the goofy crap like teasing your cat with a laser pointer or swinging side to side.

            • That's the first action non-final ruling. Once you prove you're serious by appealing the matter, you get the approved stamp.

              1) So when you said "they rubber stamp things", you meant "well, first, they deny everything, but later, eventually, you know, once everything is satisfied and you've fulfilled all the requirements, then they may allow it, and that's totally the same thing!"

              2) Less than 1% of applications are ever appealed. So, apparently, you have no idea what you're talking about.

              • by sjames (1099)

                No, it means if you make noise, your bogus patent gets the approval. Then a bunch of poor suckers get to spend everything they have in court reversing the bad decision.

                Keep in mind, the rejections include a big pile of some idiot patenting something that came and went before he was born but he's totally convinced nobody ever thought of it before because he packs the bearings with cat hair plus the ones that are just a vague thought with no reduction to practice at all. That and a pile of zero point energy a

                • No, it means if you make noise, your bogus patent gets the approval. Then a bunch of poor suckers get to spend everything they have in court reversing the bad decision.

                  That kinda goes against your whole "they rubber stamp patents blindly" rant earlier, then.

                  Keep in mind, the rejections include a big pile of some idiot patenting something that came and went before he was born but he's totally convinced nobody ever thought of it before because he packs the bearings with cat hair plus the ones that are just a vague thought with no reduction to practice at all. That and a pile of zero point energy anti-gravity whoosiewhatsises.

                  If not, how do you explain this [slashdot.org]?

                  I explain that as Slashdot's usual practice of paraphrasing an invention by describing it in known terms, forgetting that 10 seconds ago they just paraphrased the invention, and angrily complaining that the known terms are the invention and that therefore it's old. An article about a patent on the transmission of the Tesla Roadster would probably be "Inventor claims to have patented the Model T plus AA batteries! USPTO

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    Do you know what an aggregate file is? It's a file! Do you know what the modification time of an aggregate file is? The latest modification time of any chunk of the file. So, do we want the least or greatest credible TTL figure? Six of one, half dozen of the other, so which to pick.....OH OH Mr. Kotter! we can split the difference! Wow, nobody's ever thrown up their hands and split the difference before!

                    I'm not saying it wasn't good thinking, just that pretty much any competent team faced with the same prob

                    • Do you know what an aggregate file is? It's a file! Do you know what the modification time of an aggregate file is? The latest modification time of any chunk of the file. So, do we want the least or greatest credible TTL figure? Six of one, half dozen of the other, so which to pick.....OH OH Mr. Kotter! we can split the difference! Wow, nobody's ever thrown up their hands and split the difference before!

                      I'm not saying it wasn't good thinking, just that pretty much any competent team faced with the same problem would have come to a very similar solution. I *DO* hope you're not a patent examiner.

                      Do you know what hindsight is? It's when you say "pff, pretty much any competent team would have come to very similar solution, and I can prove it because... my gut says so." Legally, it's about as viable as saying, "that guy's totally guilty, and I can prove it because... my gut says so." 'Obvious' or 'guilty' are conclusions, which need to be supported by evidence, not feelings.

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      Aggregates of pretty much anything have been dealt with that way for a very long time. It's not a 'gut' thing, it's based on work I have personally done in file systems.

                      Again, I *DO* hope you're not a patent examiner. You seem to be impressed very easily.

                    • Aggregates of pretty much anything have been dealt with that way for a very long time. It's not a 'gut' thing, it's based on work I have personally done in file systems.

                      Great, then you can probably provide some evidence of that, such as a published spec, that shows everything in the patent claim, right? Or is this more of an "out of my ass" feeling?

                      Again, I *DO* hope you're not a patent examiner. You seem to be impressed very easily.

                      I'm not. But incidentally, I notice you completely skipped over the part of the claim about the weighted TTL based on storage quotas. I hope you're not a programmer, since that requires at least a bit of attention to detail.

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      Everybody poops. Most people don't feel a need to write a paper about it each time (not even the author of "Everybody Poops").

                      Why wouldn't resource cost (as determined by scarcity or, TADA how tight the quota is and how close to the limit you are) be considered when deciding how important something is. Ever notice how when people are moving they start out carefully wrapping and boxing everything but by the end when they are tired and the truck is full they become willing to just chuck it? Same idea. Did you

                    • Everybody poops. Most people don't feel a need to write a paper about it each time (not even the author of "Everybody Poops").

                      Why wouldn't resource cost (as determined by scarcity or, TADA how tight the quota is and how close to the limit you are) be considered when deciding how important something is. Ever notice how when people are moving they start out carefully wrapping and boxing everything but by the end when they are tired and the truck is full they become willing to just chuck it? Same idea. Did you consider that I skipped it because it was unremarkable? Good programmers know when NOT to get bogged down in the details too. If you had relevant expertise in the art, you might know that.

                      So, back to the hand-waving "I don't have any evidence, because my gut tells me this feature that I lack any evidence as having existed before is 'unremarkable'"?

                      On the one hand, you could be right and this patent merely claims a 40 year old, widely used technology, and everyone involved in it, from the inventor, to Google's internal counsel, to the patent attorney who prepared the application, to the multiple Examiners and supervisors at the USPTO were all incompetent... On the other hand, maybe the featu

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      I'm fairly convinced that if I claim the moon is not made of cheese you will insist that it's hand waving unless I present you with a core sample and video to prove it was taken from the moon. If you want to go all starry eyed and say OOOOOOOOOOoohh every time someone describes common knowledge using the word plurality, beat my guest.

                    • I'm fairly convinced that if I claim the moon is not made of cheese you will insist that it's hand waving unless I present you with a core sample and video to prove it was taken from the moon. If you want to go all starry eyed and say OOOOOOOOOOoohh every time someone describes common knowledge using the word plurality, beat my guest.

                      I think your guest is fine without my efforts, and if you're outraged by the use of 'plurality', then you've got bigger problems than I can help you with.

  • by pla (258480) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:29AM (#47324165) Journal
    "In addition to the disagreement between the parties as to the meaning of the agreed-upon claim construction"

    I don't fully speak legalese, but the ruling had me literally LOL'ing. The threw everything from grammar naziism to stare decisis.
    • by PRMan (959735)
      They both agreed as to WHICH claim was in question but they disagreed as to its meaning.
  • ...but intuit. Ya...

    If those folks were forced out of business tomorrow, I'd be just as happy.

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

    by Anonymous Coward

    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?)

  • I honestly wonder if any of these are legitimate claims or just "Trolls" as they are labeled.
  • All this judge did was say the defendant did not do what this patent covered, as defined by the claim. It does not invalidate software patents. It does not declare the plaintiff to be a "patent troll". It does not declare this patent to be invalid. Whoever submitted this story must be desperate: like throwing a handful of party snaps into the air at a gun show...
  • Remind me to hire Intuit's law firm instead of Newegg's if I am ever in this situation.

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