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Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Windows 7 Under Fire For Patent Infringement 241

eldavojohn writes "A patent issued in 2003 called 'Method and system for demultiplexing a first sequence of packet components to identify specific components wherein subsequent components are processed without re-identifying components' is now owned by Implicit Networks, who has recently claimed Windows 7 infringes upon it with its Filtering Platform. This is used in Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. Implicit is seeking a jury trial and damages. A shocking turn of events; you actually want to cheer for Microsoft this time as Implicit is nothing more than a patent licensing company (troll) and has done battle with Sun, AMD, Intel and NVIDIA."
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Windows 7 Under Fire For Patent Infringement

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  • by brenddie ( 897982 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:36AM (#30309930)
    hard to choose which is the less evil side
  • by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:41AM (#30309980)

    "I hope microsoft wins this."
    I hope they lose. They trolled Tom-Tom for using the DOS filename patent. Tom-Tom navigation runs Linux and uses the 'patent'-code to read out SD cards... Needless to say Microsoft needs to lose this.

    What goes around comes around!

  • Re:Legal System Flaw (Score:4, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:50AM (#30310094) Journal

    It's possible to have a "no winner" situation if MS can show prior art existed before the patent was issued, and then the judge will nullify the patent.

  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:50AM (#30310098) Journal

    I’d have thought that just the process of being sued over absurd patents like this one would be enough to show the faultiness of the patent laws. It’s obvious to everyone else...

  • by SlowCanuck ( 1692198 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:52AM (#30310118)
    Legal Fee's - little company A tries to sue big company B, unless they are going to win - they don't even try because - In Canada - the loser pays for everyones lawyers, as well as the settlement. From what I understand, that is applies across the boar here in Canada. So unless I know I am going to win, hands down - I don't even bring a dog to fight. In the States you only pay your legal fee's - so if you lose, oh well!! That is why you have a guy who slips and falls at a concert, and sues like 100 businesses and 50 people. Anyone not show up, he gets paid and any cases he loses he is not out of money - because he paid for his lawyer already - usually with the "winnings" from the other default judgements. Tell me I am wrong - I will be happy and relieved, since I have family in the US and fear something stupid like that getting done to them by some loser wanting to make a quick buck!
  • by SlowCanuck ( 1692198 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:02AM (#30310234)
    I suggest two reforms: 1): Company has to prove they actually used said patent in a product that they developed and was sold by their company sometime before the lawsuit, or patent is void and given to the party they are suing for infringement. This would be a stipulation on top of prior art, and should be easy enough to prove. 2): You lose, you pay - for everyone's lawyers fee's!! If company cannot pay fee's upon reasonable amount of time after judgment, then the losing company is then owned by winning company until it is either liquidated or all financial obligations are complete. Then again, I am one of those socialist Canadians!!
  • Re:Legal System Flaw (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:21AM (#30310468) Journal

    Actually, if you look up the AT&T v. BSD *nix lawsuits, both were found to have infringed on each other, forcing both parties to basically cross-license their stuff and call it a loss (which turned out to be a pretty solid win for those of us out here in Geekdom).

  • by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:22AM (#30310492)

    So how about all the other companies that Microsoft sued for patents? Oh wait... this is beyond the scope of /. and actually a valid point...

    Feel free to name them. Oh, and along with naming them, [citation needed].

  • by rayharris ( 1571543 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:53AM (#30310974)

    If they get a jury trial, every member of the jury should be required to hold at least a Master's degree in some form of engineering. That's the only way to ensure it's a jury of their peers.

    If they just pull twelve random people off the street, their eyes will glaze over in about 30 seconds and they'll vote like they were in the audience of American Idol.

  • Exactly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:30PM (#30311636)

    MS, or any large company, will rightly ignore any form of minor nuisance - including being sued for patent infringement - as long as it remains a minor nuisance. "Hey, we can either swat these flies one by one, or we can lobby for changes to the law and in the process lose the leverage we get with patents under today's system?" Guess which one they'll choose.

    That's exactly it. The trial isn't about righting a wrong, it's about the patent troll being able to broadcast the strength of their hand. If it's a weak hand MS will prior art them. If it's a strong hand then the trial will continue. But only up to a point - MS will evaluate the probable damages and pitch them a settlement number based on the perceived strength of their position.

    The whole patent thing isn't going away any time soon. I'd love to see it die as much as the next /.er, but it won't. There is an insane amount of money in patent portfolios. That's a lot of cash to suddenly invalidate.

    For example, my last job.

    I worked at a company that made a widget. I'm not going to talk about the widget because that might attract unwanted attention. Nonetheless though - a widget. In a tightly controlled abusive patent space competing against maybe six other companies who make a similar widget.

    We would hold meetings to come up with patent ideas, to beat our competition over the heads with. Cross licensing was rampant just so anyone could put a widget - any widget - on the market. There was one famous event where our sales team got in a fist fight with another company's sales team at a trade show. Throwing punches. No kidding. Lots of hard feelings, lots of abuse of the system. And about $50 million in sales every year from our company alone hanging in the balance.

    So along comes this Megacorp. Our owner wants to retire, so Megacorp comes in and buys us. A few months pass...then they buy out our rival FistFight. And a couple others! They want to be the only company who makes this widget, and the easiest way to insure that is to purchase entire companies simply for their patent wealth.

    The problem? That's all they wanted. MegaCorp has sufficient manufacturing and engineering resources already, thank you very much. And despite reassurances that they intended the company to continue it was evident they did not. The companies were purchased, stripped of their IP, and closed down. Everybody loses.

    It's a cautionary tale about abusive patents, sure. But consider MegaCorp. They now own half a dozen companies purchased for God-Knows-What. My company was pulling in $50 million a year. I can only imagine what the sale price was. And half a dozen others. Probably half a billion dollars if I had to guess for the whole lot. Just to own the patents. And for no competition in that particular widget space. They actually got to purchase a monopoly. Think about that - the advantage they hope to gain with this move. And how much money that advantage is worth.

    Now imagine if someone comes along and kills software patents. Half a billion bucks spent and it - overnight - becomes worthless. The monopoly goes away like a puff of dust. Sure, they deserve it. They closed half a dozen engineering firms, fired people that had worked on assembly lines for 30 years (no kidding). They totally deserve this.

    But at the money they must have paid, I'm sure they'd fight this to the death. And that's just one company. Imagine the wealth tied up in patents from someone truly huge like IBM or Microsoft. No. This isn't going away anytime soon. God knows I'd love it if it did, but there is simply too much money that would go *poof* if that happened. It might even cause the kind of financial meltdown we had last year over housing. Really - there is that much money in this. Odd to think about but true.

  • Re:Sup Wigguhs. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:13PM (#30312524)
    That patent description sounds somewhat like what the "header blocks" are for at the beginning of an electronically-transmitted tax return, per IRS specifications. I'm aware that electronic tax returns have been getting transmitted significantly before 2003, so maybe that would be "prior art" to overturn this patent.
  • Re:Exactly (Score:1, Interesting)

    by tecmec ( 870283 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:49PM (#30313142)
    Sounds like Directed Electronics Inc (DEI). If you want a car starter you either buy a Compustar or a DEI...there is nobody else left. Over the years DEI has bought out several competitors, if only for their patents. Viper, Clifford, Python...all DEI (now), and all sell the exact same products. Some /.s might know that Viper (a DEI company) just released an iPhone interface for their starters. Pretty neat idea, no? I thought so, I was going to do something similar for my 4th year EE progect at school...until this came out. Anyway, while researching this I noticed that Clifford filed a patent for this in 1989, 11 years before being bought out by DEI, only to have DEI sell a product using that patent under their own name 9 years after that. Crazy how this stuff works.

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