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The Courts

Company Claims Ownership of Digital Messaging 325

An anonymous reader writes "Kootol, yet another patent troll, is going after everyone who makes messaging software for violating their soon-to-be-granted patent, which claims they invented one- and two-way messaging in 2005. From the article: 'Kootol, founded in 2010, says it has a patent license agreement with Yogesh Rathod for control of U.S. Patent Application 11/995,343. Rathod, in fact, is a co-founder of Kootol with his brother Vijay Rathod. According to Kootol, the patent application “covers core messaging, publication and real time searching technology.” Interestingly, the patent in question hasn’t actually been awarded to Kootol or Rathod yet. Rather, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued “A Notice of Allowance.” That’s the term for when the USPTO says that an applicant is entitled to a patent under the law, but must pay an issue fee (and potentially publication fee) first, within three months.'"
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Company Claims Ownership of Digital Messaging

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  • Prior Art? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stormthirst ( 66538 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:07PM (#36795276)

    Surely the SMTP protocol is a one way messaging protocol - and is older than I am!

    • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yeesh ( 1811028 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:15PM (#36795310)
      ICQ. It's been out since 1996. And I think it's such a shame it's not still used. Back in the UO days it was the standard of online comms.
      • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by The Conductor ( 758639 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:27PM (#36795368)
        Not as old as SMTP, but older than ICQ, is the text-based talk program, which goes back to at least 4.2 BSD. And IRC and similar BBS type programs, as well as the VAX/VMS phone program, go back to the 80's at least. I know VMS phone had notification; can't remember if it had presence though.
      • ICQ is used pretty heavily in some countries - Russia and other ex-Soviet republics, most notably.

        That said, it's not a good IM protocol. No Unicode until a few years ago (and some clients were slow to catch up with transition), passwords limited to 8 significant characters, numeric user IDs - it's very much a dinosaur.

        • Phone didn't have presence, quite. However, in 1991, I abused phone to create a notification system for when your peeps logged in, thereby extending
          a two-way chat application with presence.

          Yes. I've had the code online since 1991.

          Anybody with patents on two-way messaging and presence should probably line up and bite my shiny metal ass.

      • Damn, my seven digit UNI is still active. Even all my old contacts are still there. It must have been over eight years since I've last logged into it. Ahh, the memories. And it now ties into Facebook? YUK!

    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      I recall using 'instant messaging' on a network on VAX/VMS back in the '80s...

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Yep. So were Unisys ICON machines, I fondly remember using one during my childhood and them showing us how to leave messages for people.

      • it was the talk command on unix or vms systems back then. And as a college experiment we wrote a two way messaging system using GWBASIC on DOS 3.1 back around 1987. If only the USPTO had people that had a clue.
      • Telex anyone?
        Also used messaging in high-school in the late 70's. We used a mechanical teletype to dial-up other schools, then tried to flirt with girls taking computer programming classes. That's when rule 16 was first being considered.

    • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:52PM (#36795540)

      It's not really even about messaging. The abstract in the patent application is so ass-backwards and contorted that nobody could make heads or tails of what the actual invention is. Here is the abstract:

      A system for transmission, reception and accumulation of the knowledge packets to plurality of channel nodes in the network operating distributedly in a peer to peer environment via installable one or more role active Human Operating System (HOS) applications in a digital devise of each of channel node, a network controller registering and providing desired HOS applications and multiple developers developing advance communication and knowledge management applications and each of subscribers exploiting the said network resources by leveraging and augmenting taxonomically and ontologically classified knowledge classes expressed via plurality search macros and UKID structures facilitating said expert human agents for knowledge invocation and support services and service providers providing information services in the preidentified taxonomical classes, wherein each of channel nodes communicating with the unknown via domain specific supernodes each facilitating social networking and relationships development leading to human grid which is searchable via Universal Desktop Search by black box search module.

      My favorite part has to be "knowledge packets"...

      • My eyes! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:55PM (#36795550)

        They will not stand in my way when I patent:

        System of using punctuation marks in order to make blocks of text more readable.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          "Method and device for obfuscation of intellectual property descriptive text."
          • You have to apply the method recursively - "Method and apparatus for declearaficiation of mentally produced property descriptive collection of characters."
      • The abstract in the patent application is so ass-backwards and contorted that nobody could make heads or tails of what the actual invention is.

        My favorite part has to be "knowledge packets"...

        Oh! That is Indglish - English spoken by an moderately* educated Indian guy. The perfect English mangling scheme for patents. Seriously, a lot of Indians do speak like that...

        *- And I use "moderately" in a very loose sense...

      • by Walt Dismal ( 534799 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @08:22PM (#36795682)

        It is so utterly, completely obvious that the taxonomic ignification is merely a matter of sorting the knowledge packets according to chromulence, distification, and relevactory mystilience. I therefore award this patent to these geniuses, void all prior art, and entitle them to billions in ransom. Let it be known that this East Texas court is a fair and honest place where all may come and get their just rewards.

      • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @08:59PM (#36795882)

        I currently make most of my income dealing with patents (searching, reading, analyzing, finding problems with them, writing material for them, etc). And guess what? Nobody reads the abstract to figure out the details. All it is useful for is to determine if it's even vaguely related to what you are working on.

        If you base any analysis on a reading of the abstract alone, you are making a huge mistake. Don't bother.

        I'm not saying the patent is valid or not. I'm just saying don't read the abstract.

        • by jfengel ( 409917 )

          This is very true. But the actual claims aren't much better:


          A method of accessing applications for social networking, searching sharing and communication in a plurality of network(s), said method comprising the steps of:registering and/or integrating at least one application(s) from one or more networks at a central server by one or more application provider(s);selecting at least one registered application(s) by at least one user;installing said at least one selec

          • by jcorno ( 889560 )
            That's the wrong patent application. The author (who doesn't seem to understand patent law) linked to another application by the same inventor. The correct publication is here [].

            The first claim in the application (which may or may not be the one that will appear in the actual patent, though it's probably pretty close) is very specific. It requires, among other things, that "each user device [have] a local database and an application for... sharing desktop resources," and that "the information and the ap
      • by pmontra ( 738736 )
        I know what happened. The Patent Office read the abstract, couldn't understand a single word (me too), concluded that must be some great and complex invention and granted the patent without any further investigation. They're collecting the fee anyway and not paying damages if the patent gets invalidated later on, so why bother?
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      Heck, the Egyptians had one-way message via couriers circa 2400 BCE.
    • by apdyck ( 1010443 )
      The telegraph: one- and two-way messaging. It was first invented by Baron Schilling von Canstatt in 1832. I'm fairly certain that this predates the 2005 patent application.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) *

      And IRC []was a two-way messaging protocol that started out as a replacement for NTALK, a network-based variant of TALK(1) []+FINGER. An IRC system is constructed by a peer-to-peer network consisting of a number of IRC Servers, configured into a tree-based topology designed by the server administrators, and stemming from their choice of which peers to connect together.

      IRC clients even had a /NOTIFY command for monitoring presence (or WATCH list) command. Clients had usermodes they could set on themselves suc

    • The first example is probably CTSS mail [], which dates to late 1964. Not only is mail older than most people here, it's old enough to have gone out of patent coverage 1.5 times.
  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:08PM (#36795280) Homepage

    Good, the more ridiculous the patents get, the quicker something will be done to fix the mess. Personally, I'd like to see this patent granted, and dozens of companies ordered to pay lots of damages to the angelic company that is Kootol. ....if only to see the backlash from a thousand juggernauts against the current patent system ;)

    • This. Also, seriously, trying to sue Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, AOL, Amazon, and pretty much every other major tech company all at once? I honestly think that this might have a serious chance of destroying software patents entirely. I mean, sure, the companies will be able to defend themselves, but the legal costs of having to do so against this obvious troll might finally drive them to push for fixing our damned patent system. Or maybe they'll just buy the patent (or something) and things will get wo
      • by Grave ( 8234 ) <> on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:24PM (#36795358)

        The mere fact that we're having to pin our hopes of patent reform on corporate interests is disgusting, and proof of the inherent failure of the US government to act on behalf of the interests of the greater good of its citizens in practical matters.

        • The failure of the US government to act on behalf of the interests of the greater good of its citizens lies with said citizens.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Indeed. The Republicans fuck up, so the fools vote in the Democrats. The Democrats fuck up, so the fools vote in the Republicans. The Republicans fuck up, so the fools vote in the Democrats. The Democrats fuck up, so the fools vote in the Republicans. Holy fuck, there might just be a cycle going on here.

            • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

              It's called the two party shuffle. There is really only one party...the money party. They use push button issues like abortion to keep people divided so they can lift their wallets.

          • Government only looks out for the good of itself. Which is the simple reason it should be limited and very defined roles. Not the "do it for the children" nanny state we've become.

            • Government only looks out for the good of itself. Which is the simple reason it should be limited and very defined roles. Not the "do it for the children" nanny state we've become.

              "Do it for the children" -- Ah you mean the Ministry of Ministry...

            • And once we've successfully got the size of government down to the point where it can be drowned in the bathtub at Grover Norquist's convenience, who exactly do you think it going to stand up to the corporate plutocrats, even in principle?

              It may surprise you but there are a few people out there who actually will fight for the people given a chance. Think of the Roosevelts. Of course, since the modern GOP deliberately sabotages the government for the purpose of proving that government doesn't work...
            • Government only looks out for the good of itself.

              Correct. However the reason that looking out for itself is not looking out for the people is because we have proven, time and again, that there is no consequence for doing otherwise. Approval rate of Congress? Approximately 30%. Re-election rate of incumbents? Around 90%.

              This has little to do with the size of government. It has somewhat to do with the construction (the fact that we have allowed things to devolve to a two party system in particular), b

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        "The software you are suing over predates your patent. Do you wish to continue?" If you answer "Yes" to that question, you should become liable for triple the damages you are claiming upon losing the case.
    • I'd respond to your comment, but I'm worried I'd be violating Kootol's patent if I did.
    • by Sarusa ( 104047 )

      Well that's a nice thought (and I would hope that would be the outcome) but that only works when you've got someone in the decision making chain who's (choose one) sane or views that as a bad outcome.

      For instance, normally when you end up with standard procedure involving sexually molesting children you might stop that, but for DHS that's just reasonable procedure.

      In this case, big companies can settle up with Kootol and it becomes yet another barrier for entry to small businesses. As far as they're concern

    • I call this the "shoot myself in the foot" theory of political action.

      I don't think ever seen anything in my life work out that way. Maybe oppress a pretty white woman somehow, that occasionally gets results.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @10:39PM (#36796474) Homepage Journal

      Good, the more ridiculous the patents get, the quicker something will be done to fix the mess. Personally, I'd like to see this patent granted, and dozens of companies ordered to pay lots of damages to the angelic company that is Kootol. ....if only to see the backlash from a thousand juggernauts against the current patent system ;)

      Unfortunately, it's not likely to work out that way. Kootol will no doubt be crushed, but the giant companies they're suing will most likely pay off Congress to "reform" the patent system in a way that makes it more difficult for small patent trolls to operate while still allowing the giants to go after small developers (and not-so-small, as in Microsoft's ongoing war against Linux.) Don't ask me what the specific wording will be; I don't claim to know, but they've got armies of lawyers to write the language to achieve the desired result.

  • Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 )

    I'm pretty sure I was using instant messaging programs well before 2005. I remember having used them since I discovered computers in the late 80s.

  • by Cadallin ( 863437 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:13PM (#36795304)
    Here's the problem, even ignoring issues like software patents, and the morass they cause. The USPTO has stated that they're overwhelmed, so they're just checking the paperwork, and if its all in order, they rubber stamp it and grant the patent, the courts can sort out what patents are valid, they say. Meanwhile, the Courts are continuing to defer to the expertise of the patent office, and are EXTREMELY "reluctant" to void patents. So we get any invention, no matter how obvious, no matter how old, being patentable. And as long as you're smart about who you sue as a patent troll, (pick targets who can't afford to defend themselves, and file in known friendly courts), you're golden. The system is totally borked.
    • by Twinbee ( 767046 )

      I'm usually the last person to speak about the benefits of more work (and will cite the broken windows fallacy at the nearest opportunity).

      But on this occasion, it looks like they could do with more workers. Qualified workers at that.

      • They have no incentive to hire more workers, because it means higher costs. Currently they have a good income by rubber stamping everything but the costs of these patents are conveyed to the consumers. Unless their mandate is changed, they won't reform.

        • Perhaps we should go back to actually funding the USPTO mainly with tax revenue. I realize that there's a lot of people here that are opposed on principle, but sometimes taxpayers are the correct party to fund things.

          • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @10:45PM (#36796512) Homepage Journal

            Perhaps we should go back to actually funding the USPTO mainly with tax revenue. I realize that there's a lot of people here that are opposed on principle, but sometimes taxpayers are the correct party to fund things.

            Communist! Socialist! Pedophile! Pothead! Music pirate! Think of the children! If we violate the principles of God and the Founding Fathers by doing such a thing, the terrorists have won!

            There. Hope that clears things up for you.

    • If this is the case, then the whole thing needs to just go away. "we can't do our job because we're too busy not doing our job" is no excuse.

    • Meanwhile, the Courts are continuing to defer to the expertise of the patent office, and are EXTREMELY "reluctant" to void patents.

      The problem isn't reluctance but rather the current legal standard for invalidating a patent. Once a patent is granted it requires "clear and convincing" evidence to invalidate it. It's neigh impossible come up with "clear and convincing" evidence of anything relating to something like software that your average ditch digger or housewife, hell, or even your average judge has little understanding of. All the defense has to do is throw out just a little baffling bullshit and there goes "clear and convincing"

    • That's a very good synopsis. It seems very dysfunctional that the USPTO can't accomplish what a message board can - namely, accumulate a number of folks with depth of experience who can rattle off prior art from the tops of their heads.

      It seems to me that the patent system should contain a component of peer review. Allow any interested parties to submit 1-page briefs over a 1-month period, limit one per company to prevent DoSing of the poor inventor. Then allow inventor to respond to the briefs as to ho

  • by glebovitz ( 202712 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @07:32PM (#36795402) Journal

    This looks very similar to the Andrew Messaging System that became the CMU campus wide mail system circa 1985.

  • "claims they invented one and two way messaging in 2005"

    I read TFA's description of the patent application, and it doesn't look any different from what this two-way pager (RIM R900M) I have was doing in 1995.

  • This information is available on the USPTO's website under Public PAIR. You can look at the entire prosecution history of the patent -- and notice that they have submitted a sh*tload of prior art to the USPTO on this one.

    Whether you like it or not, it looks like they've spent a lot of money setting this one up.

    Start plowing through that prosecution history and start looking for prior art -- early prior art that isn't already on the list.
    • So wait a tick, there is already a ton of prior art ON FILE and yet the patent is still deemed valid? Wouldn't, say, several dozen prior inventions that do what you're trying to patent being on file in the application generally preclude granting of that patent?

      • It's not technically granted yet, but it's in the last stages. They also filed an application with EPO and that will be challenged, since Florian Mueller raised that as an issue.
  • Does that mean that they won't be able to afford to pay the fees to get the patent granted?

  • Maybe it's just me, but I think Kootol's logo looks very similar to Gooogl's logo!

  • I'm not in the patenting arena (rather a researcher by day), I read a ton about how the patent system is totally broken but since I don't interact with it at all would one of you fine scholars be noble enough to provide myself (and perhaps a few others) with some resources that illustrate how broken things are so I can better understand the situation? I would greatly appreciate this. Thanks!

    • Patent trolling in 10 easy steps:

      1) people fooling around with code make new, cool things that are useful
      2) someone notices and suggests to these people that these useful things would be useful to other people, and they could probably sell it for something
      3) the inventor sells it and starts to make some money, thinking how wonderful it is that this useful thing could be useful to someone else while making some money for him/her.
      4) someone with a bit of legalese and a knowledge of the patent system notices s

    • Cell phone patent thicket []. You're in research. Think of where we'd be if all the money being wasted on lawyers was instead being invested in research on better cell phone technology. And it's gonna get worse once the Apple/Microsoft/RIM consortium get all the patents they bought [] from the Nortel dissolution sorted. All three are renowned for spending money on lawyers rather than on innovating.

  • And I couldn't find any positions listed for 'shitbag' or 'troll'. I figured if they plan on taking on the big fish, they would need legions of shitbags to help take the Internet by storm. I guess they have all the shitbags they need... damn.
  • That the USPTO is staffed with lazy incompetent morons.

  • Even WOPR was calling David Lightman back in 1983 for a quick game of thermonuclear war...
  • Anyone can pay the fee and submit evidence that says that there were the following items of relevant prior art with documentation and the USPTO will review and issue their judgment.

    To that extent, if someone patents something that had been done at a college in the 80s, it would be worthwhile submitting the documentation to show it was not a newly "invented" system.

    Right now the patent application which is published does NOT reflect the allowed claims, which is typically narrower than what was originally sub

  • It seems to me that everyone comes on here and bitches every couple of weeks when another patent trolling case lights up the collective ire of Geeks United, complaining that the USPTO is incompetent, couldn't tell Prior Art if it was stuck in their prosteriors, and generally how much these things suck.

    Has anyone done anything about it? Has anyone called to apply for a job at the USPTO, as unglamorous as that is? Do you not want to work for "the man"? Do we have anyone here who works for the patent office?


  • Talk
    VMS Phone
    VMS "CB Simulator"
    Telnet chats
    MUDs, MOOs and such.
    ICQ - and every variation of this from here on like yahoo chat and AIM.

    Those are just the ones I've had hands-on experience with

    I am sure there must have been some sort of instant messaging under Multics back in the '60s.


  • I have distinct memories of using the "CB Simulator" chat system on CompuServe back in 1986. This certainly qualifies as a 2-way messaging system.

    The Unix "talk" command has to figure in there somewhere too.

    SMS messages have been around before 2005 (I am guessing), so that would certainly qualify as one-way messaging. Then again, so would telegrams and email.

    • As well as snail mail, semaphore, morse code, drum signals, smoke signals and talking to yourself.

    We are looking for candidates with experience managing/leading a development team in social networking, search engine, communication, e-commerce, API for integrating with 3rd parties, mobile & desktop smart client applications related environment. The Project Manager will be asked to take over their . NET development team. They will be responsible for managing the developers and development process.
    Candidates should have at least 7-10 years of experience.

    Did they just admit

  • by karl.auerbach ( 157250 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @09:08PM (#36795944) Homepage

    IP multicast has been in active use on the internet since the 1980's.

    IP multicast lets receivers join groups, defined by a special class of IP addresses. Senders emit packets addressed to those addresses and the IP mulitcast routing systems (of which there are several) build distribution trees to get those packets to those receivers.

    So to the extent that this patent claims include subscription based addressing and transmission of data packets, IP multicast has been a running example of this for at least a quarter of a century.

  • IANAL, but I don't see any information in the USPTO transaction history or file wrapper of 12/973,387 to indicate any notice of claims allowance. This appears to still be just an application.

    But for those of you who want to rip into it, here's the part that matters. Have fun!

    1. A method for publishing and subscribing in a social network, the method comprising: allowing user to manage Human Operating System (HOS) including one or more profiles, activities, applications, services, actions, transactions, gro

  • by papafox_too ( 883077 ) * on Monday July 18, 2011 @12:25AM (#36797022)

    Let's see:

    1. TCAM [] offered transient message queues in 1971. It was used by IMS [] for asynchronous messaging.
    2. MQ [] was announced in 1992. It offers a wide range of messaging options - program to program, publish/subscribe both with synchronous and asynchronous options. Pretty much every large financial institution (banks, insurance, stock brokers) systems are built around MQ. Every stock exchange in the world uses MQ in it's trading platform.
    3. SMS [] was first announced in 1982.
  • Clauses 1-457 were canceled.
    in 458 they describe a main frame (prior art by many, many years) so 458 should have been canceled, in addition to all of the clauses based on 458.
    providing a central controller for controlling a plurality of processes involved in said information searching and sharing;

    463 is based on 462 which is based on 458 so it should be canceled. 479 repeats the claim to prior art noted above. This leaves 478 as the only clauses not voided by the above prior art. Unfortunately for the patent troll 478 vaguely describes clustered computing as a means to duplicate the process of a main frame, which there are several instances of prior art as well.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp