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Patent Troll Goes After Notebook Cooling 131

An anonymous reader writes "If you are manufacturing notebooks and you are using hardware that needs to be cooled down occasionally, you may be in the crosshairs of IPventure, which claims patent rights to an approach that is common in all notebooks today. For now, the company appears to be establishing its case by suing Fujitsu and Lenovo over the use of its invention in the Lifebook and Thinkpad series of products."
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Patent Troll Goes After Notebook Cooling

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  • Submarine patent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @06:56PM (#36676760)
    So the method is common in notebooks today... meaning it has been in wide use for at least a few years now. The patent holder just waited until everyone had committed to selling that design, so that they could just sue everyone. Submarine patent tactics if I ever saw them.
  • by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @07:13PM (#36676892)


    The company claims that two patents are affected. Patent 7,506,190, awarded in March 2009, and patent 7,937,599, awarded in May of this year. Both patents describe “thermal and power management for computer systems.”

    While this clearly has been a novel approach, it is questionable if it was novel when the original patent claimed by IPventure was filed on June 22, 2007 and there may be a good chance that prior art could invalidate both of its patents.

    It's almost the opposite, actually. They sued almost as soon as one of the patents was awarded.

    On the other hand, the older of the two was filed in 2007, while SpeedStep was introduced on the Pentium III in about 2000 or 2001. What their patents describe is essentially the thermostat logic: step down frequency when the temperature gets too hot. Surely that idea has existed from the introduction of dynamic frequency scaling?!?

    But, the patents also talk about fan speed control ... I'm pretty sure that was the whole point of AMD's Cool'n'quiet.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:04PM (#36677380)
    If one looks at the wording of the U.S. Constitution and some of the writings of the time on patents, the purpose of patents in U.S. law is to encourage people to make their inventions known (rather than keeping them as trade secrets). Looked at in this way puts a somewhat different interpretation on "obviousness". If you make something and it is obvious how you did it, it fails the obviousness test. There is no advantage to society from giving you a patent, someone else can duplicate what you have done even if you never tell anyone how you did it.
  • by udippel ( 562132 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:09PM (#36677424)

    If there was booze and hookers in a patent office, I'd probably still be working there ... .
    At least when I was there, it wasn't the officers being keen on granting, actually. At least the large majority wasn't. It was the bean-counters in higher management. Only a granted patent 'produces' more income in form of fees, renewal fees, and so forth. A rejected patent doesn't, except of the initial examination fee.

    Do not always try to blame the poor officers. Try looking at capitalism instead. An office like the patent office ought to be financed by the tax payer, yes, the tax payer, to provide unbiased services. Services in the best interest of the country, that is the tax payer. It should not need to create its own funding, nor be used to create additional cash-flow into the coffers of the state / government.
    In case of the latter two, there will always be politicians in higher position to 'expedite' this cash-flow and that needs granted patents, not rejections.
    Plus, the applicants want patents. Look left and right, and you see many who'd be proud to have one. In our days, you might even need one or more for a position, a tenure, etc. And don't forget the courts who at times create case law that is not necessarily based on sound engineering facts.
    Again, the disease is not in the office, it is a societal disease of prioritizing monetary gains at all cost anywhere.

  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:13PM (#36677460)

    "upheld by the courts"

    A sober thought when one considers that US Supreme Court ruled last year that a corporation could bribe our elected representatives with as much money as would get their special legislation enacted, and there didn't have to be any accounting to anyone as to how much or to whom. These bribes are euphemistically called "campaign donations", but if the politician retires s/he can convert those funds to private use.

  • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:40PM (#36677702)

    Uh ... if they willfully allow it, it isn't rape. That's the correct (albeit, still stupid) analogy here.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.