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Acacia Sues Amazon Over Kindle Fire 126

walterbyrd writes "A company called Smartphone Technologies filed the suit last Friday in Texas Eastern District Court accusing the Kindle Fire tablet of violating four of its patents. Smartphone Technologies is owned by Acacia Research, a firm that buys and licenses patents and is seen by many as a patent troll. 'One patent cited in the suit, U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562, simply refers to a method for using a touch screen to enter commands on a handheld computer. Another patent in question relates to a method for storing calendars on a PDA and was initially issued to Palm in 2002.'"
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Acacia Sues Amazon Over Kindle Fire

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  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:23AM (#37686880)

    A PDA is just a weak computer in a small form factor, so why did palm even get it in 2002 when a calender on a computer was decades old before then?

    Patents are worthless, and are choking what little creativity is left in our country.

  • Sue Sue Sue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:31AM (#37686908)

    Slashdot these days is little more than lawsuits, settlements and the ongoings of such. This is what our industry has turned into huh? Sad.

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:36AM (#37686936)

    Your opinion on a particular product does not really matter, fact is everything sited in the complaint existed in the mid 1980's

  • by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:04AM (#37687042) Homepage
    Which is why the free market is a myth. It can't last. As the players get bigger, and history shows that's the end result, they start to influence the countries they reside in, to make it harder for new companies to enter markets. Even if they don't, it is pretty hard to compete with entrenched companies benefiting from control of resources, logistics, resellers, etc..

    Libertarian free markets are a nice idea, but corporatism is their real life counterpart, and it isn't very fun.
  • by GoodnaGuy ( 1861652 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:11AM (#37687084)
    I have been reading about these patent wars for ages now. Most peoples reaction seems to be to grumble but put up with it. Is there nothing can be done? Our leaders seem unable or not interested. This is killing innovation in the electronics industry. Soon we'll be left with just a few big fish controlling everything. Maybe its time for the revolution!
  • by jbov ( 2202938 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:13AM (#37687096)
    Why do you ask a question, then answer it yourself?

    By definition a patent must be new, useful, and non-obvious. While the methods listed in the patents are useful, they are neither new, nor non-obvious. Either the USPTO employees are ill-educated on software methodologies, or just plain lazy.

    I agree that the whole of civilization has been built by minor improvements. So, why should we slow that process down with software patents?
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:26AM (#37687150) Homepage Journal

    It's looking like the patent courts - in a manner of speaking, as I suppose there is really no single "patent court" - like the courts are becoming a sort of platform for marketing by obscure companies with uncertain patents on file - but not just any obscure companies, obscure companies with lawyers.

    Specifically, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas became nothing but a "platform for ... obscure companies with lawyers" some time ago. There seems to be something particularly toxic about this particular court's combination of judges, jury pools, and court rules that attracts this type of activity.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:27AM (#37687156)

    Patents are a specific assembly of specific solutions to specific problems.

    You would never be able to guess that from reading an actual patent application. Obfuscation seems to be the key.

  • Re:Yawn... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:29AM (#37687162)

    Amazon are evil bastards who actually deliver useful products

    Actually nowadays I am noticing more and more often that Amazon isn't actually selling me products, they are merely providing a storefront for someone else.

  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @03:13AM (#37687526)

    Yes, we've had touch-sensitive screens for years, but they've never used complex symbols (like circles, polygons, or letters) as commands. It's always been touching single points to select buttons, up until Palm created Graffiti. What does this patent cover? That's another rhetorical question. The patent appears to cover later implementations of Graffiti, which isn't surprising since it was filed by PalmSource, Inc.

    You do realise that when Palm released Graffiti, they were sued by the owners of the patents on Unistrokes, a similar system that dates back to the 80s, and is now expired, right?

    Graffiti was not new and innovative. It was at best a minor improvement on what came before. Actually, I'm not so sure it improved anything -- the original unistroke system worked pretty well, IMO.

  • Hard to feel sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @07:12AM (#37688414) Journal
    As much as I dislike patent trolls, it's really hard to feel sorry for Amazon in this one. They are the ones who patented one-click-purchase, after all. What goes around comes around.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.