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Xerox Sues Google, Yahoo Over Search Patents 202

gnosygnus writes "Xerox Corp has sued Google, Inc. and Yahoo, Inc., accusing them of infringing the document management company's patents related to Internet search. In a lawsuit filed last Friday in the US District Court in Delaware, Xerox said Google's Web-based services, such as Google Maps, YouTube and AdSense advertising software, as well as Web tools including Yahoo Shopping, infringe patents granted as far back as 2001. Xerox seeks compensation for past infringement and asked the court to halt the companies from further using the technology."
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Xerox Sues Google, Yahoo Over Search Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:16PM (#31261244)

    that Google and Yahoo COPIED Xerox???

  • Can someone help? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:17PM (#31261260) Journal

    Anyone have a link to this patent? The summary fails to accurately describe what it is they patented - though the impression I get is... Practically Everything?

  • by Shadowhawk ( 30195 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:20PM (#31261298)
    My guess is that Xerox isn't looking for any big payout, but rather some kind of cross-licensing deal for patents.
  • "We want your cake too. And it'll cost us less in legal fees than the potential benefit. That's a mighty nice website you have there. It would be a shame if anything were to...happen... to it. Probable result: cross-licensing agreement to patent portfolio to lock out smaller competitors, higher costs for consumers in countries with strong IP laws. "

  • How long can you sit on a patent before you have to start going after people?

    It would appear to me that Xerox must have been sitting on this for quite sometime.

    It is also odd how Microsoft is not included in this, Yahoo and Google, but not Microsoft in a search related patent case?

    • Re:Timeframe (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pavera ( 320634 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#31261446) Homepage Journal

      Patent law is retarded. You can sit on a patent for 19 years and 11 months. There is no requirement to go after people to keep a patent enforcible. You can patent something and wait for the entire term of the patent for someone to actually invent/commercialize what you have patented, and then sue them at the 11th hour and take as much money from them as the courts will give you.

      The exclusion of microsoft is interesting, perhaps MS already has a cross licensing deal with Xerox?

      • See laches (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:47PM (#31261744) Homepage Journal

        You can sit on a patent for 19 years and 11 months. There is no requirement to go after people to keep a patent enforcible.

        Citation needed. Where I come from, they have something called equitable estoppel. In this case, you're looking for laches [].

        • Well, where the rest of us come from they have something called "lawyers", which renders your equitable defence moot.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by tepples ( 727027 )
            Where I come from, some lawyers have a habit of calling for equitable defences (or defenses) on behalf of their clients.
        • How many hundreds of Slashdot patent stories have come across the wire and how many of them have even whispered equitable estoppel or laches in the court filings? I can't think of even one, or if there was one, it failed so utterly we never heard about it.

          A legal mechanism that theoretically exists but can never be exercised doesn't actually exist.

        • by butlerm ( 3112 )

          The inability to collect damages for past infringement (due to laches) has no effect on the ability to enforce a patent for the remainder of the term.

      • should make a law where any patent has to be developed for actual use by the patenter or official licensee within one year of being granted, otherwise it's revoked, but this is the least of what's wrong with the stupid over-litigated patent system in this idiotic fucking country
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Svartalf ( 2997 )

        Actually, no, you can't sit on it and expect to be able to enforce it like you imply.

        You don't lose the patent like you do with Trademark- but if you delay, the range of things that ends up happening goes from no damages to an inability to enforce against the infringers that you didn't enforce against during the time you "sat on it". Subsequent infringers can be enforced against during the life of the patent- but not the others if you delay any substantive time on it from the moment that the infringement b

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:31PM (#31261460)

      They probably tried to actually find something using Bing and decided they wouldn't have a case.

  • by castironpigeon ( 1056188 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#31261448)
    Dear Google, Yahoo, and anyone else who has more money than I do. I would like some of your money. Please give me some money or I will have to sue you for it. Thank you and have a nice day.
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:31PM (#31261466)
    Good times, but how the mighty have fallen these days. I for one miss the idea of a pure research group.
  • Delaware? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Fnord666 ( 889225 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:32PM (#31261480) Journal
    They filed in Delaware? Don't they know all suits like this seem to be required to be filed in East Texas!
  • Xerox won't win (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:01PM (#31261956)

    Both patents I've seen cited as applicable were granted (filed in 2001) in 2004.

    Given that they're just suing now, unless there's been extensive negotiation privately that's somehow managed to not leak out at all over 5-6 years (unlikely), Xerox probably won't be able to get any court to enforce shit. It's called laches - you have to actually work to minimize your damages. If you knowingly let infringers make use of your IP so you can sue them when they're worth something, you lose the ability to enforce your patent.

  • any and all podcast grabbers, twitter, flicker, friendster, eharmony... let's see... what other social/popular sites do people keep tell me to join.... There needs to be a law where if you are going to sue for tech patent infringement, you need to sue all the companies that have infringed at once or none at all.
  • "Will the world end in fire or ice?"

    Neither, Bobby; it's gonna be lawsuits.
  • Still one of the best headlines ever.

  • No Bing?

  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:31PM (#31262412) Homepage
    Personally I think patents are great, they give innovators a way to protect innovations giving them a small lead to jump-start their project. In fact, I'll go so far as to say I think patents could solve much of the trouble we are currently having pulling our selves/society in to the digital information age.

    Bear with me..

    The problems with patents as they currently stand is they are often used as bullshit tools whihc stifle technology in an attempt to extort or monopolise any technology or idea. What once might have been a useful tool has become a strategic game-piece often crippling American innovation when it was intended to encourage it.

    But I don't believe the answer is to abolish the system, or even to make it increasingly difficult to make use of, that would punish legitimate users and patent trolls and legal firms would no doubt find ways to continue around it.

    What I'd like to see is it remain almost exactly as it is today, with a few small changes:
    • Patents should be granted rapidly. Pending patents help no-one while discouraging research and innovation. Either you have one or you don't.
    • Patents should be reasonably easy to get. We should encourage their use, with a few sensible restriction (below).
    • Patent length should be very short. The protection they provide should last no more then 1-3 years. When a patent expires competition should be able to immediately begin.
    • Patents sole purpose should be to encourage innovation. Patent trolling and patent portfolios do nothing towards this end and actively, often parasitically discourage it and a great cost to the society they depend on.
    • Businesses that can't gain a reasonable advantage using a patent protected 1-3 year monopoly should not indefinably limit those that might.
    • Patents should only be granted for new ideas or new technologies and should never extend their protection onto old or existing technology. This is particularly important for software, where new code should be patentable (explained below) but at the end of the patents term only additions or patches might be considered new and therefore patentable.
    • Patenting code should be valuable because it would allow developers benefit from their work without relying on strictly on licensing or obscuring code through binary blobs. Quality projects would still could continue funded development with changes and updates eligible for patent protection. Of course nothing requires that anyone patent such work, or that should they chose to patent it that they drop protective licenses or release source. But we're heading towards a future where the user will be increasingly technical and black-box application may eventually find they have a disadvantage in the marketplace. Should they chose to make their products reasonably open source and use patent provisions to protect their business process it's possible that both society and business might benefit from a new form of commercial open source.

    It's probably worth noting that software companies which wish to keep their code and related processes black-boxed would still have several options, one obvious option (aside from restrictive licensing and binary only releases) being SAS, where they control the process by keeping access to all relevant code and business systems themselves, only pushing relevant/needed data out to the client front-end. SAS is really the ultimate black-box solution and it protect your property from just about everything but internal abuse (staff, break-ins, social engineering) and network related penetration. And that's nothing new.

    Sorry about any grammaros/typos/spellos. I just wanted to get these ideas out while there was still active discussion. Over the past several years I've begun to strongly believe our own enemy (patents - via trolling/hording and other related anti-competitive business practices) are actually our best hope for a sensible business/technology future.

    • tell that to pharmaceutical drug companies. A patent's goal isn't just for "innovation" protection.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by butlerm ( 3112 )

      Simpler solution: Besides all the other problems with them (like the inability of the patent office to tell what is an "invention"), software patents are a net drag on the economy, therefore they should be eliminated.

    • I'll go so far as to say I think patents could solve much of the trouble we are currently having pulling our selves/society in to the digital information age.

      Arcane patent and copyright laws are the major obstacles preventing society's move into the digital age. I dare say they're a major contributing factor to the current economic situation. Instead of society being able to embrace new efficiencies they're are being tied up in legal fees and monopolies rents. The music industry is the perfect example. Technology allows for a way to reduce the distribution cost of music to almost nothing and instead of embracing this tremendous new efficiency they fight it tooth

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:35PM (#31262474)
    Now I'm going to have to sue Xerox for violating my patent for the business process of how to make money from companies using ridiculous patent infringement lawsuits.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.