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Patents Microsoft Media Television

Microsoft Wins Hyperlink TV Pause Battle 165

TripMaster Monkey writes "The Register is running an interesting story on a patent recently granted to Microsoft. This patent, which covers 'pausing television programming in response to selection of hypertext link', among other things, has been in contention for over twelve years, and the language used in the patent reveals its age ('The Internet has recently exploded in popularity,' and, 'a computer user with a modem can get on-line.'). Despite its age, however, this patent, which covers 35 claims in all, will be of major importance in the impending IPTV battle in the States."
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Microsoft Wins Hyperlink TV Pause Battle

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  • by Ckwop ( 707653 ) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:29AM (#14272221) Homepage

    The granting [of] patents 'inflames cupidity', excites fraud, stimulates men to run after schemes that may enable them to levy a tax on the public, begets disputes and quarrels betwixt inventors, provokes endless lawsuits...The principle of the law from which such consequences flow cannot be just."

    The Economist, 1851. As true then as it is today.

    Simon

    • Might have been said in 1851, but I think that most people still understand the idea that patents can strangle real development.. Hell, even that patent office probably tries to avoid those types of patents.

      Unfortunately, those kinds of profits can (at least in principle) be extremely profitable, just look at this case:

      Microsoft patents clicking something to do something else (seriously, this is what the patent boils down to). This was the mids 90's, so they use a bunch of software company jargon to make
    • What is with this Slashdot-Economist lovefest? Is this a fad or the definitive "hey, I'm an intellectual" mark on Slashdot? Will I get downmodded because I question this?
      • Don't ask me, I read Foreign Affairs.
      • Bah, typical Slashdot rhetoric...
        1. The Economist happened to support an on-topic argument well on that patents have long been problematic.
        2. The poster wish to look cool and intellectual, joining a new global Economist lovefest.

        Of course, someone has to post reason #2 because that seem so much more likely to a paranoid and depressed geek. Yeah, yeah, in general people are stupid and we can assume they wish to boast and not post opinions on the actual subject at hand. :-p
      • It is by no means sufficient that the law should recognize the principle of private property and freedom of contract; much depends on the precise definition of the right of property as applied to different things. The systematic study of the forms of legal institutions which will make the competitive system work efficiently has been sadly neglected; and strong arguments can be advanced that serious shortcomings here, particularly with regard to the law of corporations and of patents, not only have made the

      • by Ckwop ( 707653 ) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday December 16, 2005 @12:22PM (#14272657) Homepage

        What is with this Slashdot-Economist lovefest? Is this a fad or the definitive "hey, I'm an intellectual" mark on Slashdot? Will I get downmodded because I question this?

        Normally, I'd agree with you, however, on this topic you're off the mark. The Economist is written for Economists, and you'd expect Economists to be able to comment on the damage that patents cause to society with some degree of authority.

        The fact [economist.com] that the Economist said this in 1851 tells says a lot in my opinion. It tells me that there has never been a consensus on patents. In fact, it tells me that there was a large body of opposition to patents since inception.

        It also tells us that Slashdot is hopelessly ill-equiped to turn the tide against patents. If the Economist (and by extension it's readership) was unable to hold enough sway to overturn patents then slashdot has a snow-flake's in hell chance of achieving the same goal.

        We over estimate our self-importance.

        Simon

        • The Economist is written for Economists, and you'd expect Economists to be able to comment on the damage that patents cause to society with some degree of authority.

          You could say the same thing of Scientific American, which around this same period of time was engaged in the practice of securing patents for American inventors.

          "Appeal to authority" is a perilous logical fallacy because it's so seductive. It's kind of like the Dark Side of the Force; it seems easier in the short run, but in the long run it we
      • Works especially well when want to look informed. Some believe it adds an aura of authority to their writings. It is also very easy to use against people as they will nod their head and whatnot so as not to look ignorant.

        A very good example, the housing market (stateside). Dropping terms/names like "granite", "stainless steel", and "Berbur" implies much more than what it means. By constant promotion of such people assume that it must be quality. Works well for organizations. First, have an important a
      • I support the use of external sources to back up opinions and to add relevance to points of view. It worked in third grade and still does to this day. Those damn elitists, reading and sharing information yet again!

    • http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm? story_id=5300835 [economist.com]

      for a more recent opinion from that journal.
      • What a shallow, misguided opinion piece. :-(

        I've considered subscribing to their print magazine more than once, because they are usually pretty damned cogent. This is the biggest exception I've seen, and there's no indication that it's guest editorial/opinion content rather than the official position of the magazine.
  • Even with... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by endtwist ( 862499 )
    Even with the fact that it is an old patent, you can see this becoming a major issue with all the interactive TV services now. Say an ad (oh whoopee!) pops up, and you decide to click the link in the ad (HA!) ... obviously you want your show paused, but now no one but MS can do that.

    Quite unfortunate, really. Such basic ideas making it through...
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:32AM (#14272243) Homepage Journal

    I'll just set up a network in India, Venezuela, Iran, etc. where you press a button on a remote control, which speed dials a number to an operator (standing by, of course) who clicks on a hyperlink on their screen which pauses, changes channels, adjusts volume, etc. for you on your PVR/TV/Media Center/WhatHaveYou!

    And I'll base the headquarters in Cuba where they couldn't give a rat's patoot about IP laws.

    Problem solved.

    • Speaking of Monkey...... Why hasn't Michael Jackson sued Balmer for illegal use of some of his moves?.....
  • ...but how did it seem twelve years ago when the patent was filed? Nobody knew what the Internet was capable of, and it may well have been a unique insight. Hell if the patent office had just been granted twelve years ago, it would expire about 5 years from now. With IPTV probably still a few years out, it wouldn't make much difference to how things unfold.
    • The entire point of a hyperlink is to take you from one spot in a document to another. The fact that the document is video instead of text is irrelevant. This patent, along with ebay's online auction patent, are perfect examples of technology applied for it's intended purpose and patented because the Internet is involved. In ebay's case the madness is patenting the Interent to communicate auction information. What with the Internet being foremost a communications medium you'd think the content of the commun
    • If you don't have a working implementation, why should you get a patent on something you're not even quite sure how will work out?

      And as another poster said, this is obvious, along with 99.999% of the other patents filed each year.

      People need to start thinking with their hearts. Intellect is going downhill these days..
    • Nobody knew what the Internet was capable of, and it may well have been a unique insight.

      Only a PTO patsy would say that. Hyperlinks were invented at least 60 years ago [theatlantic.com]. Pausing of recording media was also at least 60 years ago [wikipedia.org].

      The only people who talk about ideas as units are the patent mafia. People who really create know better.

      ---

      Have you written to your representatives about patents? A write-in campaign is our only hope!

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:39AM (#14272305) Homepage Journal
    As an anti-patent, anti-copyright anarchocapitalist [blogspot.com], I wonder if we should just support every patent that is applied for and see if the entire system can come crashing down. Eventually it will cost companies more to enforce their patents than they're receiving from the "protection" they get out of them, right?

    I can not, for the life of me, see how patents give people reason to research and develop new ideas. If someone is going to capitalize on your idea, they'll modify the process and create a patent of their own. Look at every cell phone that is released with 5 new patents, and the "bootlegs" of those phones that are released just 6-12 months later. What the heck is the point of patenting something that isn't of value even a year down the line?

    The typical slashdot response to my anti-patent opinion is that prescription drugs wouldn't be researched, but the majority of the people actually researching these drugs aren't the ones who gain billions in profits from the discovery. You may not see megacorps working on solutions, but the biggest medical developments in human history came originally from a few researchers, not megalabs that spend billions and release drugs that addict and kill their users.

    Come on, people, don't you see that there is no solution to this legal racketeering other than dismantling the entire system? Competitition is good for consumers, anti-competitive government force is terrible. In the end, we all pay with our pocketbooks (to enforce these legal monopolies) and with our lives (when imperfect drugs/safety devices/whatever can not be perfected by competition). Let's start looking at what made this country great -- open competition.

    Microsoft isn't the only patent abuser. Maybe its time for someone to research (and blog?) about every patent abusing lawsuit that hits the courts, and see how consumer choice is severely hampered by the ridiculous protection of ideas.
    • by pete6677 ( 681676 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:59AM (#14272464)
      I agree with your first statement. I hope that patent enforcement is stepped up to the point that everyone realizes the system is broken in its current form. When Europeans are able to check their email on their cellphone but nobody in the US can, because NTP got an injunction against every manufacturer of mobile devices, there will be real reform. When American IPTV is so patent-encumbered as to be useless, people who used to not see patents as a problem will change their minds. This is the only realistic way to reform, since these kinds of things rarely change unless there is no other option.
    • Competitition is good for consumers, anti-competitive government force is terrible. In the end, we all pay with our pocketbooks (to enforce these legal monopolies) and with our lives (when imperfect drugs/safety devices/whatever can not be perfected by competition). Let's start looking at what made this country great -- open competition.

      You seem to be implying that government is the only thing that reduces competition. The bad old days of 100 years ago saw the rise of stifling monopoly powers in every indus
      • I've asked the question in the past -- what stifling monopolies did we have in the past?

        Standard Oil [lewrockwell.com]? Halfway down the page, Edmonds refutes that S.O. was a monopoly except where it worked with government to create laws.

        I'd like to know who was a monopoly so I can research WHY they were a monopoly. I don't see much proof that a corporation had monopoly powers, except when they were able to abuse the power of Congress in their favor.
        • Besides the fact that that's not much of a refutation, how about:
          Carnegie Steel (Hired a private army to 'settle' the Homestead Strike)
          The railroads of the mid to late 19th century (charging 'what the market will bear' and reneging on shipping contracts ruined countless farmers)
          Bell Telephone. You could not purchase (only lease) a telephone, nor hook up any device you owned (like an answering machine or modem) to a phone line until the bell breakup.
          • Thanks.

            I've been writing a pretty extensive article about the idea of monopoly and have been researching recent anti-monopoly litigation and was very surprised to see the lack of hard evidence against a company that could be construed as the company actually using "free market" powers to be that monopoly. Almost always, the company that is considered a monopoly is using one of many government tools to capture a market. The company gets busted because they used the wrong tool, even though other companies u
            • Well, the Microsoft contracts with OEMs that forbade them from offering alternate OSes (or Netscape) preinstalled (on pain of huge penalties in Windows pricing) seems to be a pretty straightforward example of abusing monopoly power to stifle competition (with government in no way involved). In fact, I think you'd have to be pretty selective with your facts not to be able to see monopolies abusing their power. The prices only go up AFTER the market is solidified, by the way, so 'supercompetitive' is a misu
              • Well, the Microsoft contracts with OEMs that forbade them from offering alternate OSes (or Netscape) preinstalled (on pain of huge penalties in Windows pricing) seems to be a pretty straightforward example of abusing monopoly power to stifle competition (with government in no way involved). In fact, I think you'd have to be pretty selective with your facts not to be able to see monopolies abusing their power. The prices only go up AFTER the market is solidified, by the way, so 'supercompetitive' is a misund
                • Also, what kind of article are you writing when you seem to be unaware of monopoly abuses and remedies from the Gilded Age through the Roosevelt administration?

                  The Roosevelt administration was one of the most corrupt, anti-market groups I've ever researched. They were backed by so much corruption that I can't say they ever had consumer defense in mind. One large part of the article I'm working on reviews some of the backroom deals they performed to help some by hurting others.

                  Regardless of your positi

                  • Microsoft owns their software, correct? Copyright and patent protect the ownership of the ideas of their software. The physical CD it comes on isn't what they're protecting, they're protecting the ideas on that CD, agreed?

                    If they own the software, why can't they redesign it to give them a competitive edge? What is wrong in changing formats so your competition is one step behind? In do it in my businesses -- I change my price, I change my sales tactics, I even change the way we perform certain actions to
                    • The only way I accept a company as a monopoly is if they force others out of the market through physical action (murder is one option) or if they hire government to protect their processes.

                      If you define your terms properly, you can be right no matter what position you take.

                    • You're 100% right.

                      I've never intended to dupe people or try to obfuscate a debate. The issue is too convoluted for slashdot, but I'm working on it.
                    • Re:Erm. (Score:2, Informative)

                      by venril ( 905197 )
                      If you define your terms properly, you can be right no matter what position you take.

                      Hmm, Dada has been entirely consistent in his description of coercive and non-coercive monoplies. They are not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination. (errm, wait, I forgot where I was.)

                      As Dada has stated and restated - coercive monopolies require the use of force to perpetuate. Usually this means government force - but could mean illegal use of force by the entity. Note that I said Illegal use of force.

            • I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to find people who do not "like" their gasoline or the steel used to make their cars and office buildings.

              The thing is, monopolies are not illegal. "Supercompetitive" or not, when one company essentially controls an entire industry, they are a monopoly power. That doesn't necessarily mean they are _abusing_ that power or that their actions are immediately damaging to consumers, arguably the opposite could be true. The point is, the presence of a monopoly power inhibits competi
    • "You may not see megacorps working on solutions, but the biggest medical developments in human history came originally from a few researchers, not megalabs that spend billions and release drugs that addict and kill their users."

      Technology has advanced a lot in the past few decades. A couple people working in a tiny personal lab aren't going to be making any groundbreaking medical discoveries any time soon.

      I'm not saying I agree with the megalabs, I have tons of problems with how they operate and what
      • The other problem is that while some concept might have been discovered in a small lab, it is rare that a modern drug was discovered in a small lab. (Most modern drugs are much more refined than older drugs ever were.) And, even to the extent that target validation and lead optimization can be done in a small lab, you could NEVER do a clinical trial in a small lab. You need thousands of volunteers (often compensated in some way), thousands of pills, etc. You also need to bribe LOTS of doctors to find th
        • The other problem is that while some concept might have been discovered in a small lab, it is rare that a modern drug was discovered in a small lab. (Most modern drugs are much more refined than older drugs ever were.) And, even to the extent that target validation and lead optimization can be done in a small lab, you could NEVER do a clinical trial in a small lab. You need thousands of volunteers (often compensated in some way), thousands of pills, etc. You also need to bribe LOTS of doctors to find those

          • Name a non-microbial disease that has ever been cured - other than vitamin deficiencies.

            The reason drug makers aren't curing diseases is because it is hard to do. It isn't like nobody is working on an HIV vaccine (including academic/government labs), or other non-chromic treatments.

            The fact is that few diseases have ever been cured - other than those caused by infectious organisms. Companies are still coming out with antibiotics - albeit slowly. The main reason that infectious diseases aren't a high prio
          • "Why should the drug cartels.. I mean companies spend millions/billions on finding a cure for a disease/problem ? Hmm... Cure = 1 Time payment, Treatment = Lifetime of payments"

            The flip side to this is that if there is no patent protection, it is definitely not economically viable to develop cures. With patents, different story, as long as it's not an orphan drug (which means that there are too few cases to make it worthwhile even WITH patent protection).

            Hypothetically:

            Cure the disease -- 1 monster
            • The flip side to this is that if there is no patent protection, it is definitely not economically viable to develop cures. With patents, different story, as long as it's not an orphan drug (which means that there are too few cases to make it worthwhile even WITH patent protection).

              You are telling me that no scientist would develop something because its the right thing to do if there isn't profit involved ? Most of the scientist that I have met would love to be able to develop what they want to develop

              • "You are telling me that no scientist would develop something because its the right thing to do if there isn't profit involved ?"

                No, I am saying that drug development is a very expensive process, and no private organization is going to lay out hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars without a profit incentive, which you state as well. I wasn't talking about individuals, I agree that most of them likely have the best of motivations. But good intentions don't pay for expensive research and testing
        • If you don't want patents, then the alternative is government R&D labs, possible using outsourced development services.

          I think you are making a very valuable point here, that deserves to be highlighted.

          Often, when you listen to patent proponents/apologists, they will paint a picture suggesting that if there were no patents, there would be no pharmaceutical reserch at all carried out in the world. This is of course pure rubbish.

          Just as you point out, the governments of the first world countries

    • The problem isn't patents per se -- it's patent abuse.

      The first pproblem is that people have been allowed to patent concepts that have not truly novel. Take the FAT file system (please take the FAT file system!), for example. Nothing about it is particularly unique and there are tons and tons of examples of prior art.

      The second problem is that people have been allowed to patent vague ideas that include no actual implementation or plan. There are patents on transporter technologies and all sorts of things
      • You're right that the problem seems to be patent abuse. One could also say that many of the problems we face today with government comes from Congressional abuse or Presidential abuse.

        This argument (to me) isn't quite valid. It is like blaming the gun for a murder or blaming a sneeze for passing on a cold. When we have a problem, we need to battle the source, not the visible middleman.

        Patents are a legal monopoly to use the force of government to protect something that isn't a physical object but a thoug
        • We do agree on a lot of things, I think. But one thing I don't think we agree on is that government force should necessarily be taken away in every case that it's abused. Unfortunately, the government has to have some power and authority in order to function. That power is supposed to be, ultimately, limited by the Constitution.

          Although we see massive abuses of power, including some cases of blatant ignorance of the Constitution, one that a lot of people miss out on is that the vast majority of the time,
    • Did I just agree with you on something?

      Kidding, of course. You're absolutely correct, but like anything, there -will- be an inevitable backlash when the law goes too far. (We're already seeing this with widespread disregard for copyright law-in the end, sometimes civil disobedience is the only way.) The successful opposition in Europe to software patents is another one. I think even Microsoft may recognize the lunacy of the current system after they get hit by a few "submarine" patents, from a few compani

      • Heh. You may note that I don't agree with most people here, but I do offer new opinions. Even the libertarians distance themselves from me :)

        Copyrights are another matter-but even if they're allowed (they are Constitutional, although I don't believe the current iteration is), they should be reformed heavily

        20 years ago I'd say you'd be right. Now, I think it is impossible. We're less than a year away from truly anonymous P2P. The laws against copying, even the laws again bad things like child porn will
        • Well, I think that's why the reforms -would- be a good idea. Once anonymous P2P does hit, you can bet the **AA's will be buying-erm, I mean, lobbying for, some new laws. And they'll get ignored, and worked around, and another arms race will follow, and ultimately everyone loses. It's effectively impossible to prevent personal copying when nearly everyone has machines capable of copying vast quantities of data at a keystroke at their fingertips. And just look at the "war on drugs" to see the results of crimi

    • large companies will protech themselves with their portfolios while crushing startups and innovation with patent litigation.
    • "The typical slashdot response to my anti-patent opinion is that prescription drugs wouldn't be researched, but the majority of the people actually researching these drugs aren't the ones who gain billions in profits from the discovery. You may not see megacorps working on solutions, but the biggest medical developments in human history came originally from a few researchers, not megalabs that spend billions and release drugs that addict and kill their users."

      Correct, it only takes a handful of scientist to
  • How about if we click on an <EMBED OBJECT> or an <APPLET> to pause the video instead. Er, wait a second.

    This patenting shit is getting to be ridiculous, to the point of absurdity.

    Good thing it expires in another seven years. In the meantime, I'll continue timeshifting almost all of my TV with bittorrent and watching only the local news/weather and sometimes PBS via broadcast antenna (long live rabbit ears). Along with the hordes of others like me.

    No more Sony Trinitron, instead use A

  • Hypertext Link (Score:3, Interesting)

    by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:45AM (#14272362) Homepage
    What is a "hypertext link"? My definition of "hypertext" is a series of documents linked together by related words that can be navigated by clicking on highlighted words. As soon as a tag starts doing things like controlling a television the document stops being "hypertext". In purely academic terms, what Microsoft has patented as I understand it is actually impossible.
    • It seems kind of silly anyway... if it's only via "hypertext link" that this patent applies, then, well... make it a button! Sheesh. Better get that one to the patent office, quick.
  • Why do the patents last 20 years? I think a generation is far too long.
  • by flowerp ( 512865 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:52AM (#14272408)

    You can easily work around this patent by slowing down the TV
    stream by factor of 1000,0000,000 instead of just pausing it.

    Who needs pause anyway?

    During the last 12 years we all have improved our abilities
    to multitask while surfing online. This is proven on a daily basis
    by countless geeks masturbating *while* klicking hyperlinks (and
    sometimes even while @ work). This is progress!

  • by CodeShark ( 17400 ) <ellsworthpc AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:53AM (#14272417) Homepage
    Let the fireworks begin. Bet this doesn't stand for more than six months..., as I would guess that there is some prior art out there to invalidate it.

    Like the fact that IIRC there were TV tuner cards back in the DOS/Apple II days, and applications that could write text onto the graphic screen at the same time. I personally wrote an app in Clipper that allowed a user to click on an image from a TV screen capture, and move to different places in the application based on "member data", and that was a not too difficult application by a solo programming newbie at the time. Authoring software anyone? Dragon's lair or Space Ace video games? do they apply?.

    What think ye all?

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:54AM (#14272429)
    I didn't look/read the patent but alot of this crap is getting passed that's really obvious. What's happening is that there's now a race to "think" about what might be handy to do and then patent that even though anybody else knowledgeable in the field, would come to the same conclusion if put the the task. What really sucks is that companies like Microsoft, with tons of cash, can afford to throw lawyers at anybody they want to in order to shut them down or steal/buy their technology.

    Anyways, since Tivo already has the ability to pause and you can go to another information/data page/display while the video is still feeding the DVR buffer, there shouldn't be anything to this. A URL is no different than an onscreen or offscreen button IMO.

    LoB
    • "A URL is no different than an onscreen or offscreen button IMO."

      Unfortunately, the patent office disagrees. It seems that for any action in meatspace, doing it virtually is patentable. It's broken, but that's what we have to deal with.
    • I didn't look/read the patent but alot of this crap is getting passed that's really obvious.

      If you are correct, then everything in the patent claims can be found in the prior art. Since we're all qualified to publicly air our expertise about the patent system, we both know that something is not obvious if it cannot be found in the prior art. I'm only including this link for those readers who, unlike you and me, don't know about the patent system.

      And if you're right, Microsoft has more than enough finan

  • Honestly there is no big loss on this one. If you think about it when have you really ever said "Hey, what I'd really like to do is stop watching this program I was in the middle of and go off for half an hour exploring an ad".

    No, instead the better UI would be to queue that link somewhere where the user could get to it later - email the user the link, or share bookmarks from the box the users PC can see. Microsoft just hasn't discovered this yet.

    All those ideas are free for public use BTW...
    • Personally I don't see where this is a desirable option either. I much prefer the current usage I get out of mythtv. I skip most commercials without seeing any of them automatically. I would rather not waste any time at all on commercials. And I would expect most people would agree.

      Microsoft is pushing this as way to get the networks and the ad companies behind them for support. With the combined resources of all those groups they will set things up to eventually outlaw PVRs that allow users to ski
  • "Hyper-links to Internet sport pages or chat rooms can be included and the information displayed in a split screen along with the game, or the viewing of the game can be paused at the viewer's discretion for any length of time. Even with these arbitrary pauses the present invention(s) permits the viewer to watch the entire game, no matter when and how many viewing pauses are taken."

    Minus the chat rooms and such, doesn't this sound like TiVo? Now that he has the patent, perhaps BG is going to preempt TiVo

  • As a "little guy", I've just spent the last two years researching, developing, and filing a patent application.
    While the system is flawed, there has to be some mechanism to allow creative people rewards from the market. Yes, there are a lot of junk patents, and a lot of patents filed by the big corps are completely bogus. It is in our best interests to foster true invention by as many people as possible. You'll get a lot more value from a million of us little guys working on problems than you will from a f
    • While the system is flawed, there has to be some mechanism to allow creative people rewards from the market.

      Well, patents generally don't work for small or independent inventors.

      As a "little guy", I've just spent the last two years researching, developing, and filing a patent application.

      On a simple survey tool? You look like one of the uncreative, bad guys.

      Software patents need to go.
      • Sorry you didn't understand the invention. My fault for not making a better web page. Thanks for the feedback.
      • Actually, in re-reading your post, you bring up something that is mostly overlooked when talking about patents -- the description in the press of the patent may bear little resemblence to the invention itself.

        This is due to a lot of factors, the primary being that companies don't sell inventions, they sell solutions to people's problems. The word "solution" means market-tested and directed to a certain audience. You may have patented a handheld thermonuclear reactor, but you may be selling an automatic p
        • Actually, in re-reading your post, you bring up something that is mostly overlooked when talking about patents -- the description in the press of the patent may bear little resemblence to the invention itself.

          I usually look at the patent before talking about it, but you don't have one yet, so one can only go by what you say.

          I had no desire to play this game of overpatenting -- in my opinion it is unethical. And I have a unique, novel, useful invention which makes it unecessary anyway.

          There are lots of "uniq
          • I'm not sure if you are trying to persuade me or insult me, but I'll give it one more shot.

            First: there are no good and bad guys. Life is not like a TV show. If you want to sling mud, go for it. You'll do so by yourself. I will not particpate. If you have an open mind, then read on.
            \
            "...I have come up with half a dozen "unique, novel, and useful inventions". The patent system has been useless in benefitting from any of them..." The patent system is not supposed to benefit from them, your fellow man is.
            • "...I have come up with half a dozen "unique, novel, and useful inventions". The patent system has been useless in benefitting from any of them..." The patent system is not supposed to benefit from them, your fellow man is.

              The inventor is supposed to benefit from the disclosure of the invention as a patent in order to create incentives for such disclosures; the current patent system fails to do that in many cases. That's not just a question of policy, that goes to the Constitutional justification for the c
              • "...The inventor is supposed to benefit from the disclosure of the invention as a patent in order to create incentives for such disclosures; the current patent system fails to do that in many cases..." This is new. I like it -- sounds like you are beginning to make a real argument here. So demonstrate inventors who have not benefitted from their disclosure. And keep in mind that it is a two-way street: society is also supposed to benefit as well.

                "...you have obviously invested so much time and money in yo
                • I made no claim that I have received any reward at all.

                  There is a fundamental disconnect in your reasoning.

                  You claim patents are needed because they encourage innovation. You also state that, despite having gone through the entire process, the patent provided you with nothing significant to encourage your innovation.

                  That sort of woolly headed reasoning is unfortunately all too common with the patent proponents. There is no scientific, objective evidence that patents encourage innovation, just hand w

  • At first I didn't care much about software patents.. but it seems that simplistic patents are being handed out left and right to every one who asks for them. This in turn will actually hinder innovation, well it already is actually. The easiest way out is to BAN software patents.. but is this really the answer? I think the USPTO has to be held more accountable.
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @12:18PM (#14272621) Journal
    It annoys me greatly how many people blindly post on here based on a news article with only half the information, or worse yet, on a brief synopsis of an already bad article, when it comes to patent related issues.

    Half the posts are instantly finding ways to bash the PTO and a lot of those are people pulling quotes from their little text file they keep hand to copy and paste their "smart" words. The problem there is no real discussion. No real interest in talking about if the patent is valid, what issues may or may not arise from the patent, or how limited the patent may be.

    There are far better places to argue about the patent system and how broken (or unbroken it may be), just don't codemn a single patent you have never read as being obvious or simple. If you really think a case went this long, through this many continuing applications without being effectively and properly researched for prior art, then closed-minded is where you stay.

    It is important that people realize the patent system needs reform, but there is no motivation for the government to do so at this time. It is not an issue that many people in the government fully understand and there are two large lobbyist groups on opposite sides of a great many of the reforms that were proposed in the last Patent Reform Act.

    I will admit the patent system could use a few tweaks to correct some issues, but the problems are not these end of the world, destruction of all innovation that people are continually making them out to be. I would like to hope that some of you have taken a view that is not alarmist and actually researched the current issues with the patent system and not just listened to the words from your "friends" here at slashdot. Trust me, some of these patents people are crying foul on are more patentable then they realize.
    • "and a lot of those are people pulling quotes from their little text file they keep hand to copy and paste their 'smart' words"

      Thanks for articulating that, it's rather obvious that there's a few cut-and-paste posters who post nearly the same thing every time a patent article comes up.

      Consistently modded up as insightful or informative, those posts should be modded redundant.

      "It is important that people realize the patent system needs reform, but there is no motivation for the government to do so at t
  • It sure is fun to read the comments about the article from yesterday

    Microsoft Sued Over Patent Infringements [slashdot.org]

    and compare them to the comments in this article.

    I guess Microsoft is always wrong on Slashdot.

  • Why is it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:01PM (#14273005) Homepage
    Why is it that when Microsoft wins a patent-related lawsuit, the Slashdot story's primary icon is the "patent pending on silverware" icon, and yet, when Microsoft loses a patent-related lawsuit, the Slashdot story's primary icon is the "justice" icon (example [slashdot.org])?

    This kind of journalistic prejudice implies that when Microsoft wins a patent lawsuit, patents are evil, but when Microsoft loses a patent lawsuit, justice is being served. The truth of the matter is that the patent system is being abused and needs to be changed regardless of whether Microsoft is winning or losing lawsuits.
    • Re:Why is it? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MyIS ( 834233 )
      ...when Microsoft wins a patent lawsuit, patents are evil, but when Microsoft loses a patent lawsuit, justice is being served.

      Er, this journalistic prejudice is not about Microsoft, but about patents themselves. The justice icon you mentioned refers to the fact that there is one less patent to worry about when doing our daily work. This is not limited to MS stories alone.

      Bashing Slashdot for bashing MS is getting pretty cliche... ;)

      • Sorry, but that's not true: the article [slashdot.org] where Microsoft lost was a triumph for software patents; a corporation had sued Microsoft over patent infringement and won. If the justice icon is shown "when there is one less patent to worry about" as you say, then the justice icon wasn't applicable for that story, since the patent was upheld, not struck down.

        The reality of it seems to be that we cheer for the bad things when they're happening to Microsoft, even if those bad things are ultimately bad for humanity as
  • If the patent is about pausing a television when a link embedded in a show is clicked, what about when instead of having a Weblink contained in a show, the show is contained in a Webpage? The patent certainly can't cover having a control in a Webpage that pauses a video stream. Can it cover having a link in a Webpage that pauses a video stream and also invokes some other change? Is this another idiotic "one-click" patent?

    Will it become illegal to have two lights on a single switch?

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

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