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(The Register)   Another day, another patent battle to stifle innovation   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 35
    More: Followup, Yahoo, counterclaims, plain, patent battle  
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1792 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 May 2012 at 1:02 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-01 09:39:34 AM
Meh, it's Facebook.
 
2012-05-01 09:41:47 AM
Not really, Subs. This is still just the Yahoo-Facebook lawsuit. Yahoo sued FB alleging infringement of 10 patents... FB denied it and said that Yahoo infringed 10 of their patents. Now, Yahoo denies that, and also says further that FB infringed 2 more patents, bringing their total to 12.

Facebook will have another chance to reply and tack on a few more, in about 3 weeks.
 
2012-05-01 09:55:12 AM
i586.photobucket.com
 
2012-05-01 10:06:31 AM

xanadian: Meh, it's Facebook.


Facebook hasn't been cool since it changed its name from ConnectU
 
2012-05-01 11:14:18 AM

I_C_Weener: [i586.photobucket.com image 365x264]


Pretty much this.

Patenting software is like copyrighting individual articles such as "the" and "a" and suing people who use them.

It's all there in the language and just because you figured out a good way to do it doesn't mean you can close the door on competitors. I can easily stumble across the same algorithm you use because we're both basing it off the same machines.
 
2012-05-01 11:16:36 AM

doglover: I can easily stumble across the same algorithm you use because we're both basing it off the same machines.


... which is why copyright is inadequate protection for software.
 
2012-05-01 11:53:16 AM

Theaetetus: doglover: I can easily stumble across the same algorithm you use because we're both basing it off the same machines.

... which is why copyright is inadequate protection for software.


But since anyone can easily stumble across it, patents aren't applicable.
 
2012-05-01 11:55:01 AM

impaler: Theaetetus: doglover: I can easily stumble across the same algorithm you use because we're both basing it off the same machines.

... which is why copyright is inadequate protection for software.

But since anyone can easily stumble across it, patents aren't applicable.


That makes no sense. If no one could stumble across it, then there'd be no need to protect it in the first place. You'd just keep it a trade secret.
 
2012-05-01 01:01:27 PM

Theaetetus: impaler: Theaetetus: doglover: I can easily stumble across the same algorithm you use because we're both basing it off the same machines.

... which is why copyright is inadequate protection for software.

But since anyone can easily stumble across it, patents aren't applicable.

That makes no sense. If no one could stumble across it, then there'd be no need to protect it in the first place. You'd just keep it a trade secret.


Do you have any idea how many software patents are filed because the inventors thought it was legitimately great versus how many are filed defensively in case someone else tries to sue them later?

I very much doubt that the authors of most of those patents feel they're protecting themselves against infringement.
 
2012-05-01 01:09:18 PM

Fubini: Do you have any idea how many software patents are filed because the inventors thought it was legitimately great versus how many are filed defensively in case someone else tries to sue them later?

I very much doubt that the authors of most of those patents feel they're protecting themselves against infringement.


No different in any industry.
 
2012-05-01 01:15:37 PM

Theaetetus: Fubini: Do you have any idea how many software patents are filed because the inventors thought it was legitimately great versus how many are filed defensively in case someone else tries to sue them later?

I very much doubt that the authors of most of those patents feel they're protecting themselves against infringement.

No different in any industry.


Then what's the point? Why don't we just overhaul the whole system? In other threads you make a big deal out of the idea that the patent system encourages innovation by providing disclosure with the guarantee of protection.

How is the current situation encouraging innovation when multiple people have to come up with different ways to accomplish the same thing? That's not innovation, not in software, sorry.
 
2012-05-01 01:22:36 PM

Fubini: Theaetetus: Fubini: Do you have any idea how many software patents are filed because the inventors thought it was legitimately great versus how many are filed defensively in case someone else tries to sue them later?

I very much doubt that the authors of most of those patents feel they're protecting themselves against infringement.

No different in any industry.

Then what's the point? Why don't we just overhaul the whole system? In other threads you make a big deal out of the idea that the patent system encourages innovation by providing disclosure with the guarantee of protection.

How is the current situation encouraging innovation when multiple people have to come up with different ways to accomplish the same thing? That's not innovation, not in software, sorry.


[notsureifserious]
People coming up with lots of different ways to accomplish something isn't innovation?
 
2012-05-01 01:28:36 PM

Theaetetus: People coming up with lots of different ways to accomplish something isn't innovation?


Not if they're spending their time making silly unnecessary work-arounds of obvious solutions.
 
2012-05-01 01:34:32 PM

Theaetetus: [notsureifserious]
People coming up with lots of different ways to accomplish something isn't innovation?


Absolutely- in a lot of software challenges there are one or two relatively obvious approaches to a problem. Once you have a couple methods to achieve the exact same thing you're wasting time by figuring out more.

I would love to see a study about software patents over time. Given a specific problem, did the patents filed that address that problem yield better or worse solutions than the ones that came before? In computing you can easily quantify whether one solution is better than another through the use of asymptotic runtime analysis, constant factor analysis, memory or communication bound analysis, etc.

Sometimes an iterative solution is genuinely better. Other times you can enhance the performance of one aspect at the expense of another (such as trading off between speed and memory usage). All of these things are good to know, for sure.

Figuring out a bad solution to an old problem when better solutions exist is not innovation, no matter how much you might want it to be. The problem isn't the new iterative solutions that optimize for some as yet unexplored factor, the problem is when you have to find a new solution that does nothing better or different than the old solution, simply because someone else has a patent on the existing solution.
 
2012-05-01 01:39:10 PM

impaler: Theaetetus: People coming up with lots of different ways to accomplish something isn't innovation?

Not if they're spending their time making silly unnecessary work-arounds of obvious solutions.

Fubini: Absolutely- in a lot of software challenges there are one or two relatively obvious approaches to a problem. Once you have a couple methods to achieve the exact same thing you're wasting time by figuring out more.


Huh. Maybe I see it differently as an engineer, but having more tools in my kit gives me more flexibility in choosing how to attack a problem.

I would love to see a study about software patents over time. Given a specific problem, did the patents filed that address that problem yield better or worse solutions than the ones that came before? In computing you can easily quantify whether one solution is better than another through the use of asymptotic runtime analysis, constant factor analysis, memory or communication bound analysis, etc.

Sometimes an iterative solution is genuinely better. Other times you can enhance the performance of one aspect at the expense of another (such as trading off between speed and memory usage). All of these things are good to know, for sure.

Figuring out a bad solution to an old problem when better solutions exist is not innovation, no matter how much you might want it to be. The problem isn't the new iterative solutions that optimize for some as yet unexplored factor, the problem is when you have to find a new solution that does nothing better or different than the old solution, simply because someone else has a patent on the existing solution.


Sometimes solutions can be better in some areas and worse in others, but that gives you the flexibility to optimize your entire design for the performance you want, which might be different from others. Because of the different variables involved, while there may be a "best" solution for any particular implementation or situation, it's unlikely to be the "best" solution in every implementation or situation.

And of course, if you really don't want to come up with a different solution, you could always license the existing one. In my experience, unless you're directly competing against them for the same market, people tend to like free revenue streams.
 
2012-05-01 01:49:59 PM

Theaetetus: And of course, if you really don't want to come up with a different solution, you could always license the existing one. In my experience, unless you're directly competing against them for the same market, people tend to like free revenue streams.


Except the problem isn't, "damn, I want to use that tech, but it's already patented!"
It's, "lawyers just notified us Company XYZ, who we've never heard of before, claims our product violates their patent we never knew about."
 
2012-05-01 02:09:07 PM
images.sodahead.com
 
2012-05-01 02:17:05 PM

Theaetetus: Maybe I see it differently as an engineer


Ah. That explains it.
 
2012-05-01 02:22:26 PM
so
the real way to make money in the near future is patent troll law?
sigh
 
2012-05-01 02:36:46 PM

Theaetetus: Huh. Maybe I see it differently as an engineer, but having more tools in my kit gives me more flexibility in choosing how to attack a problem.


Your analogy does not apply here. By that logic we'd all carry around dense rocks just in case we come across a situation that doesn't perfectly fit our hammers.

You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others. There do exist situations in which there are multiple solutions for different special cases, for sure, but that's not what we're talking about. If patent law were working correctly it would provide adequate protection for the innovators doing differentiation in special cases while also acknowledging that most general purpose algorithms aren't that complicated.
 
2012-05-01 03:14:15 PM
Patents do nothing but let the big guys hammer the little guys.

Innovation is slowed for years.
 
2012-05-01 03:16:31 PM

Fubini: You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others.


By "this arena", you're talking about theory and mathematics, rather than applied computing or engineering, right?
That's okay, though. Theory and mathematics aren't patentable, and even given an objectively "best" algorithm, there are dozens upon dozens of ways to actually implement it.
 
2012-05-01 03:46:00 PM

Theaetetus: Fubini: You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others.

By "this arena", you're talking about theory and mathematics, rather than applied computing or engineering, right?
That's okay, though. Theory and mathematics aren't patentable.


You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others.

I'm speaking of applied computer engineering.

Software IS math.

Theaetetus: and even given an objectively "best" algorithm, there are dozens upon dozens of ways to actually implement it.


You can select a language to implement an algorithm. Sizes of data types and so for. But none affect the actual procedure of the algorithm.

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for calculations. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning.

More precisely, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list[1] of well-defined instructions[2] for calculating a function.[3] Starting from an initial state and initial input (perhaps empty),[4] the instructions describe a computation that, when executed, will proceed through a finite [5] number of well-defined successive states, eventually producing "output"[6] and terminating at a final ending state.
 
2012-05-01 03:49:45 PM

impaler: Theaetetus: Fubini: You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others.

By "this arena", you're talking about theory and mathematics, rather than applied computing or engineering, right?
That's okay, though. Theory and mathematics aren't patentable.

I'm speaking of applied computer engineering.

Software IS math.


And it's not patentable. We're talking about patentable subject matter, however, which is not just math.
 
2012-05-01 09:36:36 PM

Theaetetus: impaler: Theaetetus: Fubini: You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others.

By "this arena", you're talking about theory and mathematics, rather than applied computing or engineering, right?
That's okay, though. Theory and mathematics aren't patentable.

I'm speaking of applied computer engineering.

Software IS math.

And it's not patentable. We're talking about patentable subject matter, however, which is not just math.


The problem here is that there's a total disconnect between what the computer scientists and engineers think and what the lawyers think. I don't know a single sophisticated CS/CE that thinks the current patent regime is a sensible thing. I'm sure they're out there, but I haven't met one yet in my ~4 years so far.
 
2012-05-01 09:47:09 PM

Fubini: Theaetetus: impaler: Theaetetus: Fubini: You're not understanding that in this arena there are some solutions that are objectively better, in every sense, than others.

By "this arena", you're talking about theory and mathematics, rather than applied computing or engineering, right?
That's okay, though. Theory and mathematics aren't patentable.

I'm speaking of applied computer engineering.

Software IS math.

And it's not patentable. We're talking about patentable subject matter, however, which is not just math.

The problem here is that there's a total disconnect between what the computer scientists and engineers think and what the lawyers think. I don't know a single sophisticated CS/CE that thinks the current patent regime is a sensible thing. I'm sure they're out there, but I haven't met one yet in my ~4 years so far.


... except that all of us lawyers are also computer scientists or engineers. But we probably don't count in your No True Scotsman Sophisticated Engineer category, eh?
 
2012-05-01 10:40:29 PM
"To promote prevent the Progress of Science and useful Arts, ..."
 
2012-05-02 01:28:21 AM

MugzyBrown: Patents do nothing but let the big guys hammer the little guys.


Most of the big tech companies would be quite happy with patent reform. The industry loses ridiculously huge amounts of money every year to "patent trolls" - people who either patent obvious ideas (or more commonly, buy up huge amounts of patents from defunct companies), then threaten everyone who is doing anything even remotely similar with costly dragged-out lawsuits in the hope of a big settlement.

The whole idea of patenting obvious processes was, is and will continue to be utterly insane.

Oh, and anyone who plans on arguing with Theaetetus - he is not capable of rationality on this issue. He regards the patent system with the same sort of blind love and adoration as a mother shows a newborn child. You aren't gonna be able to convince him of its ugliness.
 
2012-05-02 04:18:15 AM

Theaetetus: ... except that all of us lawyers are also computer scientists or engineers. But we probably don't count in your No True Scotsman Sophisticated Engineer category, eh?


Correct. You're a leech lawyer, not a productive engineer. If the patent system was fixed, you would be out of a job. If you could engineer, you would still be one.
 
2012-05-02 04:42:17 AM

Theaetetus: ... except that all of us lawyers are also computer scientists or engineers. But we probably don't count in your No True Scotsman Sophisticated Engineer category, eh?


This really bugs me. You're not, nor ever have been a true engineer. Not in a "no true scotsman" sort of way, but in an "engineers understand engineering" sort of way.

First tell: Theaetetus: "People coming up with lots of different ways to accomplish something isn't innovation?"

Nope. Engineers call that: "reinventing the wheel." Which is NOT innovation.

Second tell: "Theaetetus: Huh. Maybe I see it differently as an engineer, but having more tools in my kit gives me more flexibility in choosing how to attack a problem.

Nope. No engineer sees multiple methods that do the same thing, that only exist to get around an obvious yet patented technique, as "flexibility in choosing how to attack a problem." Because the problem isn't an engineering problem. It's a patent problem.

BTW, honest question because I'm not a lawyer: That moronic VoIP patent stated the packets were to be sent via UDP or TCP. No mention of IPsec. If I sent the packets via IPsec, would that be kosher? Unlike compression, where they gave the ever so innovative solution of: "or any other compression out there... whatever. fark if we know what works!" They didn't state "whatever random IP protocol actually works." Are patents that specific?
 
2012-05-02 05:11:54 AM

impaler: No engineer sees multiple methods that do the same thing, that only exist to get around an obvious yet patented technique, as "flexibility in choosing how to attack a problem." Because the problem isn't an engineering problem. It's a patent problem.


I didn't even explain that clearly.

No engineer sees multiple methods that do the same thing as multiple methods increasing our toolbox.

If they work in different ways, e.g. bubble sort vs merge sort, even though the output is the same, we instinctively view them as methods that do different things. One method is O(n^2), and is to be used when the algorithm needs to be written quickly and sorting time isn't a concern. The other is O(nlog(n)), and is used when sorting efficiency is of more concern.

Different methods doing different things.

Multiple methods that do the same thing? Stupid esoteric differences on the same process to keep the patent trolls happy. Certainly not "multiple tools."

That right there is the biggest tell you're not an engineer.
 
2012-05-02 05:13:53 AM
I'm sorry, but I've seen what both Yahoo and Facebook have to offer, and neither has anything that I would consider to be unique technology. A 1st year mid-level college student with a Knuth book would be able to come up with everything that both of those companies have "innovated."
 
2012-05-02 05:17:51 AM
Those that can engineer, engineer.
Those that can't, buy patents and sue engineers.
 
2012-05-02 09:03:59 AM

impaler: BTW, honest question


Sure, I'm always happy to answer an honest question from someone asking in good fai-

impaler: You're a leech lawyer

impaler: If you could engineer, you would still be one

impaler: You're not, nor ever have been a true engineer

impaler: Those that can engineer, engineer.
Those that can't, buy patents and sue engineers.


-th.

Uh huh.

I was an engineer for 10 years, before I switched to practicing law. I've probably done more professional work than you ever have, and unlike you, I see the value in having several different ways to attack any problem. For example, one way is using facts and reasoned arguments, rather than just name calling.
 
2012-05-02 01:21:51 PM
"Eight of these patents were purchased by Facebook in the past five months, and several of these patents were purchased (independent of any separate technology acquisition or merger) after Yahoo! filed its complaint in this action. On information and belief, many, if not all, of these patents were acquired by Facebook for purposes of retaliation against Yahoo! in this case," the firm said in a court filing

Yes, and? There's nothing illegal about gaining leverage in settlement negotiations by buying related positions to strengthen your own.

BTW, Shooter McGavin approves.
themixtapemonster.files.wordpress.com
 
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