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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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  • 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?

  • 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.
  • 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 [].

  • Re:Xerox Gets a Pass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abigor ( 540274 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:51PM (#31261794)

    Xerox is notable for failing to commercialise or profit from PARC's accomplishments, including the invention of the gui, laser printing, bit-mapped graphics, the mouse, and Ethernet. It is the most monumental example of dropping the ball that I can think of.

  • by jank1887 ( 815982 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:06PM (#31262038)

    after discovery of infringement (maybe a couple years after the event), they could have attempted to come to an agreement with both entities. Negotiation might have broken down and now the patent holder's last recourse is an infringement suit.

    Wouldn't be the first time that series of events occurred, especially when multiple patent-lawyer-loaded parties are involved, and it would create a legitimate delay before filing suit.

    Be interesting to see what the details actually were, however.

  • by Sleeping Kirby ( 919817 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:16PM (#31262186)
    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.
  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:30PM (#31262406) Journal

    Except patent trolls file in east Texas, not Delaware. Most patent trolls create a shell office in Texas just so they can file cases there - in fact, I believe setting up shell offices was Texas' biggest growth industries during the recession.

  • 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.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson