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(Ars Technica)   How Newegg crushed the "shopping cart" patent and saved online retail   (arstechnica.com) divider line 191
    More: Hero, newegg, chief legal officers, Jones Day, software company, plain, Thank You for Calling, hardware stores  
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24554 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Jan 2013 at 9:55 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-27 10:40:00 PM
 
2013-01-27 10:40:52 PM
So the crook who owns that patent company will go to jail now for extorting millions. Right?

Oh wait, I forgot what country this is.
 
2013-01-27 10:42:02 PM
Patent trolls make corporate capitalist pigs seem sympathetic. That's how odious patent trolling it.
 
2013-01-27 10:42:04 PM
And all that happens is a new corporation will pop up and sue for similar reasons. I'd LOVE to see a judicial precedent that if a court declares a suit to be frivolous, without merit, and filed only for the purpose of judicial-sponsored extortion, that the protections of incorporation can be shattered to the point where an individual can be liable.

Perhaps a pattern of abuse of the legal system and a history of incorporating shell companies could be a sufficient threshold to pass.
 
2013-01-27 10:43:43 PM
Newegg rocks!
 
2013-01-27 10:47:40 PM

Theaetetus: Voiceofreason01: Theaetetus: I read the article, but more importantly, I read the Federal Circuit decision. Did you read that? No. Shiat, that's like going to Fox News for your journalism and claiming you're better informed than the researchers involved.

I skimmed the decision and didn't see where there was any claim that Soverain was actually using these patents. In fact the original patents were issued for software that is hopelessly antiquated.

/kinda looks like you didn't read the article OR the Federal Circuit decision

They came out with a new version in 2007, well after they bought Open Market. I know that's a while in software terms, but it's not the same thing as if they shut down production in 2000 like you're claiming.


A new version of something many of these companies don't use, nor need to because the software is obvious, and trivial to write a custom implementation for?

I've noticed a pattern to you, it seems like there's a fundamental lack of software development knowledge, just like with every patent attorney and legislator I've ever seen ramblings from.

Using your above example, if Global Corp bought Intel, and people started using AMD chips, and Global Corp made a new Intel Core 22 processor, but no one bought it, and bought the new AMD Phenom 11 processor, and Apple used the A series, and other companies like MSI and ASUS started making their own chips unrelated to the Intel patents... then Global Corp sued companies like MSI, ASUS, and other companies for infringing on their chip patents... that's the parallel here. A chip is not a chip is not a chip. Their existence at this point is obvious, and there's only a handful of architectures available.

It's a frigging shopping cart... I don't care about their methodology or algorithm... it's an obvious concept with numerous ways to implement I can think of a few ways off the top of my head, and I'm willing to bet they all fall under someone's patent. Which is crap.
 
2013-01-27 10:49:44 PM
Simple solution: Don't let patents (or copyrights or other "intellectual" property) be assignable to a corporation or trade-able as assets. Joe Smith gets the patent in his name, it's his. Not one of 50,000 patents that Google just bought from Motorola who bought from WirelessCorpInc, etc. etc.
 
2013-01-27 10:50:45 PM

Theaetetus: Hollie Maea: / lighten up, Frances. Just needling you for white knighting these guys.

Again, see the first thing I posted. It's possible to disagree with the judges while not fellating one side or the other. Step away from the politics tab every once in a while: not everything is an our-side vs. their-side dichotomy. It's possible for issues to be more complicated.


That's like, your opinion, man. But I know how the game is played, so I will ask a jury of my peers. Who here reckons that Theaetetus is white knighting these patent trolls?
 
GBB
2013-01-27 10:51:25 PM
1) Business as usual
2) Patent troll comes along, says your "shopping cart" is their patent, beings extortion
3) Lawyers fight and lose case and appeal
4) Slowly raise prices and pass the loss onto customers
5) Patent is invalidated, extortion refunded
6) Profit (Don't return prices to original levels)
 
2013-01-27 10:52:16 PM

Theaetetus: Theeng: patent troll
ThatBillmanGuy: patent trolls
JesseL: Patent trolls
Satanic_Hamster: patent trolls

You guys all know that Soverain is really just the company that bought OpenMarket, but still sells their product, right? It's like if GlobalCorp bought Intel and kept cranking out chips - GlobalCorp wouldn't be a "troll" in any usual sense of the word.


Don't make me downgrade you from Green 3.
 
2013-01-27 10:52:54 PM

Rev.Veggie.Spam: I know Farkers like to hate on patent trolls but I'm actually more curious about this infamous East Texas district that gives them the mana to fight these annoying battles.

I realize you can't erase East Texas but how long and what would it take away their power to be so pro-patent troll?

/serious question


This American Life's show on the East Texas patent suit business is worth a listen, if you've not already heard it:  http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-paten t s-attack

Act One: NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees.
 
2013-01-27 10:54:02 PM

Gunther: Hah, my first thought after reading the article was "I bet Theaetetus is in the Fark thread, desperately white-knighting these patent-trolling assholes".
Do you have like a bat-signal or something? Do you surf fark 24 hours a day on the off chance a patent troll needs defending?


Maybe he's a patent troll troll?
A very specific type of internet troll indeed...
 
2013-01-27 10:54:14 PM

Rev.Veggie.Spam: I know Farkers like to hate on patent trolls but I'm actually more curious about this infamous East Texas district that gives them the mana to fight these annoying battles.

I realize you can't erase East Texas but how long and what would it take away their power to be so pro-patent troll?

/serious question


Actually, they already fixed that. Congress recently passed a law that specifically bans 'forum shopping' for patent lawsuits.
 
2013-01-27 10:54:34 PM

Hollie Maea: Theaetetus: Hollie Maea: / lighten up, Frances. Just needling you for white knighting these guys.

Again, see the first thing I posted. It's possible to disagree with the judges while not fellating one side or the other. Step away from the politics tab every once in a while: not everything is an our-side vs. their-side dichotomy. It's possible for issues to be more complicated.

That's like, your opinion, man. But I know how the game is played, so I will ask a jury of my peers. Who here reckons that Theaetetus is white knighting these patent trolls?


Dude has a G.E.D. in super-law, get off his case.
 
2013-01-27 10:55:37 PM
Apple is a patent troll.
 
2013-01-27 10:55:53 PM

Meethos: Hollie Maea: Theaetetus: Hollie Maea: / lighten up, Frances. Just needling you for white knighting these guys.

Again, see the first thing I posted. It's possible to disagree with the judges while not fellating one side or the other. Step away from the politics tab every once in a while: not everything is an our-side vs. their-side dichotomy. It's possible for issues to be more complicated.

That's like, your opinion, man. But I know how the game is played, so I will ask a jury of my peers. Who here reckons that Theaetetus is white knighting these patent trolls?

Dude has a G.E.D. in super-law, get off his case.


Shiat, I thought I had a slam dunk case here.
 
GBB
2013-01-27 10:59:32 PM

stiletto_the_wise: Simple solution: Don't let patents (or copyrights or other "intellectual" property) be assignable to a corporation or trade-able as assets. Joe Smith gets the patent in his name, it's his. Not one of 50,000 patents that Google just bought from Motorola who bought from WirelessCorpInc, etc. etc.


Eh, no. That would potentially, and currently does, kill innovation. Let's say I come up with the next greatest thing. I draw it out and receive a patent for it. I shop around to find a way to produce it, but I don't have the capital (think pre-Kickstater et al). Why couldn't I sell my idea to someone else? Otherwise, my idea stays mine and no one else is allowed to make the thing.

You know those nifty, semi-new smart chips in your credit card? No, not the RFID ones, the gold/brass contact thing. Those have been around for a long time ... in Europe. The patent holder in the US wanted way too much and wouldn't sell. We had to wait for the patent to expire. When they did come out, it was already old tech and fairly useless. Just imagine the tech we would have lost if we WEREN'T allowed to sell the patent.
 
2013-01-27 11:00:58 PM

Sim Tree: Actually, they already fixed that. Congress recently passed a law that specifically bans 'forum shopping' for patent lawsuits.


Most of these trolls operate out of East Texas. In fact, there are entire empty office buildings right next to the courthouse where hundreds of these "companies" have their name on a door and a little room with a desk behind the door but that's it. They're entirely fictitious entities, invented by the patent trolls (who are always lawyers).
 
2013-01-27 11:02:35 PM

GBB: Eh, no. That would potentially, and currently does, kill innovation. Let's say I come up with the next greatest thing. I draw it out and receive a patent for it. I shop around to find a way to produce it, but I don't have the capital (think pre-Kickstater et al). Why couldn't I sell my idea to someone else? Otherwise, my idea stays mine and no one else is allowed to make the thing.


If you can't make it, you have no business patenting it.
 
2013-01-27 11:02:54 PM
The legal system in this country is a mechanism for the transfer of wealth.
 
2013-01-27 11:03:08 PM
I like Newegg before, but damn! "For Newegg's chief legal officer Lee Cheng, it's a huge validation of the strategy the company decided to pursue back in 2007: not to settle with patent trolls. Ever."

Repeat. Customer. For Life.
 
2013-01-27 11:04:15 PM

baronbloodbath: Considering Theaetetus is the subject matter expert here.....


Well yeah; he's a patent lawyer who defends patent trolls for his living, It's not his expertise that's the problem.
 
2013-01-27 11:07:12 PM
i.imgur.com
/sorry
 
2013-01-27 11:13:48 PM
Wait, what?

Where's the part of the story how Newegg "crushed" them? In a 2 page article, there was a page devoted to describing Soverain's reign of terror as a troll, half a page describing the buffoonery of a redneck East Texas courtroom for the first case, and then half a page interviewing the CLO of Newegg explaining about juries and how they work and a thumbnail sketch of how they're the Robert Conrad of online retailing by daring patent trolls to knock this website off their shoulder?

Is every one else getting a couple extra pages to make up full article here? I know journalism is a dying art, but there's no "there". I thought that even the windowlickers that make up a majority of on-line writers still stuck to the "beginning-middle-end" structure of telling a story, not stopping halfway through the second act to finish everything with a few lines in a quote/interview.

It's a shame, cuz it sounds like it would be a good story if the author could get around to actually finish it.
 
2013-01-27 11:14:52 PM

Rev.Veggie.Spam: I realize you can't erase East Texas but how long and what would it take away their power to be so pro-patent troll?

/serious question


The America Invents Act (patent reform act in 2012) actually helps a lot with this. The problem is that you used to be able to sue Microsoft in Washington for $5 million, and John Doe in Florida for $50, and claim that Texas is mid-way between them so it's totes convenient. You didn't care about Doe, but you wanted to be in Texas for its rocket docket and pro-plaintiff attitude and didn't want to be in the home court of the defendant you cared about.
No longer... Now, you can only join defendants if they actually worked together as a team. So those Doe and Microsoft cases are separate, and Microsoft can move the case to Washington where all the evidence and witnesses are and where juries are less anti-Microsoft.
 
2013-01-27 11:15:20 PM

Lusiphur: Theaetetus: Theeng: patent troll
ThatBillmanGuy: patent trolls
JesseL: Patent trolls
Satanic_Hamster: patent trolls

You guys all know that Soverain is really just the company that bought OpenMarket, but still sells their product, right? It's like if GlobalCorp bought Intel and kept cranking out chips - GlobalCorp wouldn't be a "troll" in any usual sense of the word.

And with that, you have ounce and for all confirmed that you either work for a patent troll directly, were hired to run internet pr for them, or just have absolutely no credibility on the topic.

Thanks, because I wasn't quite sure if you were a shill, or just well-intentioned and stupid.


Well informed, stupid shill. Best I can come up with, having observed his input in this type of thread. Sometimes I've thought "well-intentioned" when he's talked about patent reform in the form of increasing the number and skill-sets of patent examiners (one of which he may be, which may color his opinions). Intelligent he may be - on the side of the advancement of technology and commerce, he is not.
 
2013-01-27 11:17:27 PM

Voiceofreason01: Theaetetus:
They came out with a new version in 2007, well after they bought Open Market. I know that's a while in software terms, but it's not the same thing as if they shut down production in 2000 like you're claiming.

So they sued based on a patent they weren't using, then built new software(by necessity using completely new technology)


... I don't think you know how technology works.

It would be like Henry Ford suing every Formula One team because the Model T and F1 cars are both four wheeled vehicles that a person can ride in.

Your analogy is "Ford built the new Model T, so therefore it has to use completely new technology from the Model A. Nothing can be similar!!!" That's retarded. Of course their new software can be an improvement on their old software, and doesn't have to "by necessity use completely new technology." You think Word 2011 is a complete ground-up rewrite from Word 2007? Seriously?
 
2013-01-27 11:19:07 PM

Lusiphur: And with that, you have ounce and for all confirmed


A weighty accusation, to be sure.
 
2013-01-27 11:23:09 PM

Quantumbunny: I've noticed a pattern to you, it seems like there's a fundamental lack of software development knowledge, just like with every patent attorney and legislator I've ever seen ramblings from... A chip is not a chip is not a chip. Their existence at this point is obvious, and there's only a handful of architectures available.


"You have a fundamental lack of software development knowledge... also, all processor architectures are obvious, from now until eternity, because there's only a handful available."

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-01-27 11:24:01 PM

Hollie Maea: That's like, your opinion, man. But I know how the game is played, so I will ask a jury of my peers. Who here reckons that Theaetetus is white knighting these patent trolls?


Yeah, calling their argument "seriously terrible, piss-poor" is white knighting. You sure done got me. ;)
 
2013-01-27 11:26:42 PM

Voiceofreason01: Theaetetus:
You guys all know that Soverain is really just the company that bought OpenMarket, but still sells their product, right? It's like if GlobalCorp bought Intel and kept cranking out chips - GlobalCorp wouldn't be a "troll" in any usual sense of the word.

Who didn't read the article? That's right Theaetetus didn't read the article.


Don't forget that he is Apple's number one fan here on Fark and Apple likse to sue other companies left and right. He's probably concerned that Apple will get smacked down in a similar lawsuit.
 
2013-01-27 11:27:21 PM

Gunther: baronbloodbath: Considering Theaetetus is the subject matter expert here.....

Well yeah; he's a patent lawyer who defends patent trolls for his living, It's not his expertise that's the problem.


As I said above, I'm not a litigator. I work with inventors to protect their new inventions. The trolls don't come along until years later. You can rail about litigators, and I'll be right there with you, but lumping me in with them is like yelling at a cancer researcher because you're pissed about insurance companies.
 
2013-01-27 11:29:04 PM
Has anyone else mentioned how awesome Newegg is?
 
2013-01-27 11:29:18 PM

Latinwolf: Don't forget that he is Apple's number one fan here on Fark


Where are you in all the threads where I'm attacking Apple, like the recent one about patent extension? Oh, right... Pretending I don't exist so you can keep spreading FUD.
Get it straight, Spanky - I'm pro-patent, not pro-Apple. If Apple's on the wrong side, then - because I'm not a hypocrite like you - I'm right there calling them out.
 
2013-01-27 11:34:07 PM

Theaetetus: Quantumbunny: I've noticed a pattern to you, it seems like there's a fundamental lack of software development knowledge, just like with every patent attorney and legislator I've ever seen ramblings from... A chip is not a chip is not a chip. Their existence at this point is obvious, and there's only a handful of architectures available.

"You have a fundamental lack of software development knowledge... also, all processor architectures are obvious, from now until eternity, because there's only a handful available."

[2.bp.blogspot.com image 400x264]


I'm talking about broad level architectures. And if you look at it in RISC vs CISC, Von Neumann vs Harvard... none of these are patented. I'm not talking about specific implementations and manufacturing methods (ARM, x86, x64, Power PC), which are. I'm talking about concepts of how to process, not specific processors.

You come up with a brand new architecture design, awesome. Then show it isn't just an obvious improvement to an existing one. That's going to be tough to convince Computer Engineers and Computer Scientists. I suppose that likely won't be true for DNA and Quantum computing since a lot of basics will need to be handled by entirely different concepts. Sadly (for you and your litigation cohorts), most of that sort of design is theory and done by academia. Then companies devise specific implementations, which they patent.
 
2013-01-27 11:34:21 PM
Large sectors of the American business model have shifted from actually creating things, making things or performing services to the industry of looking for a place to stick a siphon hose into whatever litigable loophole will let them bleed something dry. Break stuff, sell the pieces parts to debt farmers, pocket the cash. And, in these cases, do nothing but buy some scraps of paper and then bill people to use something you didn't create. It's a bit pathetic, innit? These are the same people who bark about being taxed on their loot after they paid for all of those politicians to vote against it. There has been a class emerging in our culture since the early '80s and it's not an elite class or an upper class or a job creator class, it's a leech class. And we had better start shunning them.
 
2013-01-27 11:36:03 PM
ryanblock.com

You're going down, Soverain...
 
2013-01-27 11:38:36 PM

Quantumbunny: Theaetetus: Quantumbunny: I've noticed a pattern to you, it seems like there's a fundamental lack of software development knowledge, just like with every patent attorney and legislator I've ever seen ramblings from... A chip is not a chip is not a chip. Their existence at this point is obvious, and there's only a handful of architectures available.

"You have a fundamental lack of software development knowledge... also, all processor architectures are obvious, from now until eternity, because there's only a handful available."

[2.bp.blogspot.com image 400x264]

I'm talking about broad level architectures.


Good thing no one ever comes up with one of those. Don't mistake your own lack of creativity as representing a fundamental pattern of lack in everyone else. Remember, hubris is a sin for a reason. :)
 
2013-01-27 11:39:10 PM

ThatBillmanGuy: Hope this deters other patent trolls.. But I doubt it.


What? Lawyers will never give up a revenue stream.
 
2013-01-27 11:39:52 PM

Theaetetus: Of course their new software can be an improvement on their old software, and doesn't have to "by necessity use completely new technology."


It was "necessarily" completely new technology (in this case software platform/languages/standards) because the original technology is not used anymore. You would not implement a new version of the software using 1990's languages and standards for 1990's browsers running on 1990's operating systems.
He's not saying it needs to be "new" technology just for the sake of it, but to match the current state of things.
 
2013-01-27 11:40:47 PM

devlin carnate: Wait, what?

Where's the part of the story how Newegg "crushed" them? In a 2 page article, there was a page devoted to describing Soverain's reign of terror as a troll, half a page describing the buffoonery of a redneck East Texas courtroom for the first case, and then half a page interviewing the CLO of Newegg explaining about juries and how they work and a thumbnail sketch of how they're the Robert Conrad of online retailing by daring patent trolls to knock this website off their shoulder?


You too? When I started reading this article, I was really wanting to get an idea of what this patent actually covered and why Newegg was not to have violated it. Without doing a lot of research on my own I have no idea.

Well, I guess they did link to the patents. I've no experience with software patents, though it read like a really vague schematic of how an e-commerce system might work. I'm not sure what the novelty of it would've been when it was filed...
 
2013-01-27 11:44:32 PM

ReverendJasen: Theaetetus: Of course their new software can be an improvement on their old software, and doesn't have to "by necessity use completely new technology."

It was "necessarily" completely new technology (in this case software platform/languages/standards) because the original technology is not used anymore. You would not implement a new version of the software using 1990's languages and standards for 1990's browsers running on 1990's operating systems.


Simply implementing a new version of the software using 2010s languages and standards would not be "completely new" technology. Sure, you have to update things, but it's not "completely new" any more than you throw out all your knowledge of the internal combustion engine when go from a 1990s car to a 2010s car.
 
2013-01-27 11:44:48 PM

little big man: Now if Newegg would just pay for return shipping on all the damned DOA hard drives they send out, I'd give them a medal.


in all the years i've known of Newegg and read comments of them in threads this is the first time someone has complained. sorry you've had trouble but that's still an excellent track record in my book. (no, i don't work there etcetera).
 
2013-01-27 11:45:28 PM

yukichigai: UsikFark: I like Newegg, but there are a few cases where Amazon really kicks their ass. I was looking at a laptop that was ~$200 cheaper on Amazon, same model and everything. Amazon shipping costs suck, though.

What you're paying for on Newegg is the support as much as the product. If I have a problem with something I bought from Newegg, 95% of the time I can return it without any issue at all. Try doing that on Amazon.

Now whether or not it's worth that increased cost differs on the product. $200 difference on a laptop might make it worth it, but I say that as someone who is handy with computers.

Famous Thamas: Theaetetus: Theeng: patent troll
ThatBillmanGuy: patent trolls
JesseL: Patent trolls
Satanic_Hamster: patent trolls

You guys all know that Soverain is really just the company that bought OpenMarket, but still sells their product, right? It's like if GlobalCorp bought Intel and kept cranking out chips - GlobalCorp wouldn't be a "troll" in any usual sense of the word.

Soverain bought the patents from a VC firm that acquired them from OpenMarket. They did not acquire OpenMarket and continue their business model.

If your "GlobalCorp" bought Intel and continued making chips, they wouldn't be a patent troll. If "GlobalCorp" bought Intel's patent portfolio, stopped making chips, and sued anyone that made anything remotely like it, they'd be a patent troll, just like Soverain.

Ursines reoccuring.


I like newegg and amazon. With amazon prime it is dead easy to return anything, for any reason _ easier than newegg actually.
 
2013-01-27 11:47:22 PM
Jack shiat and go fark yourself
 
2013-01-27 11:49:54 PM

FaygoMaster: devlin carnate: Wait, what?

Where's the part of the story how Newegg "crushed" them? In a 2 page article, there was a page devoted to describing Soverain's reign of terror as a troll, half a page describing the buffoonery of a redneck East Texas courtroom for the first case, and then half a page interviewing the CLO of Newegg explaining about juries and how they work and a thumbnail sketch of how they're the Robert Conrad of online retailing by daring patent trolls to knock this website off their shoulder?


You too? When I started reading this article, I was really wanting to get an idea of what this patent actually covered and why Newegg was not to have violated it. Without doing a lot of research on my own I have no idea.

Well, I guess they did link to the patents. I've no experience with software patents, though it read like a really vague schematic of how an e-commerce system might work. I'm not sure what the novelty of it would've been when it was filed...


Basically, Soverain had some patents purchased from Open Market from the late 90s that covered some implementations of shopping cart models. Newegg claimed they didn't infringe, but a jury found differently...
... but more importantly and crucial here, the trial judge said that Newegg had presented no evidence* that the patents were invalid and took that issue away from the jury. Newegg appealed, and the Federal Circuit panel reversed that decision saying that the patents were invalid as obvious in view of an older patent by Compuserve*.
So, did Newegg do what the patent claimed? Maybe, though that's irrelevant. Really, the patent was determined to be invalid, so they could do the exact same method and be scot free.

*the Compuserve patent was presented at trial, so it seems to be an error by the judge not to let the jury decide for itself whether it rendered the Soverain patent invalid or not
 
2013-01-27 11:50:36 PM
From TFA:

Just saying "do it on the Internet" isn't a novel invention, the appeals court ruled.

ABOUT GODDAMN TIME.

"That thing over there, but on teh intartubez," should never have been "unique" enough to qualify for patent protection. These trolls shouldn't simply lose, they should be put to death. If a skimask-wearing Muslim did an equivalent amount of dollars in damage to the American economy, we'd be carpet bombing cities. These jackholes scam millions and they'll be back next week.
 
2013-01-27 11:51:04 PM

Theaetetus: not one has responded to my substantive comments about the technology involved, the difference between stateful and stateless models, or the error made in the decision.


Frankly, most people would have no idea what that even means, so how could they respond to it?
And personally, the move from stateless to stateful in *any* modern website user interaction is more than obvious--it's damn near a necessity for any transaction to function. No one deserves to get credit or money for the concept of stateful connections, since it's been around at least since the invention of TCP/IP, if not longer.
 
2013-01-27 11:51:12 PM
Patent trolls demonstrate how locking up ideas as property does not promote the progress of science and the useful arts, but stifles it. Locking ideas up as property is ultimately just as much a form of censorship as suppressing them.
 
2013-01-27 11:58:18 PM

ReverendJasen: Theaetetus: not one has responded to my substantive comments about the technology involved, the difference between stateful and stateless models, or the error made in the decision.

Frankly, most people would have no idea what that even means, so how could they respond to it?
And personally, the move from stateless to stateful in *any* modern website user interaction is more than obvious--it's damn near a necessity for any transaction to function. No one deserves to get credit or money for the concept of stateful connections, since it's been around at least since the invention of TCP/IP, if not longer.


This. Between OO programming and modern web language design... users, sessions, purchasable items... how else would you keep track of these things?
 
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