EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.02.08

USPTO Hall of Shame, Blackboard’s Setback and the Art of Not Sharing

Posted in Courtroom, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All Your Support Desks Are Belong [sic] to Us

Have a look at this patent pick from The Register. Do you see anything wrong with it?

A US patent granted to SNAPin details a process for spotting when a user is trying to call support, and presenting them with a self-help package rather than connecting the call.

[...]

The patent (US Patent number 7,353,016) isn’t limited to displaying self-help support, and the possibilities are endless. Calls to companies could be redirected to their web pages, and calls to friends could load up their Facebook presence, avoiding that wasteful human interaction users seem so keen on.

When lawsuits over nonesense like this are brought into court, the accused party is likely to settle simply because it’s cheaper than lawyers. So the obligatory question to ask is, what was the USPTO thinking when it approved such an obvious ‘invention’?

Blackboard Again

Another company that possess obvious patents which it also uses is Blackboard, which was funded by Microsoft. The company owns many generic ideas pertaining to education on-line. Heise has the report about their greed backfiring.

In a recently published decision (PDF file), the US patent office has declared US company Blackboard’s e-learning patent invalid. The patent office rejected all 44 claims in the disputed US patent number 6,988,138, (“Alcorn patent”) for a system for teaching in a virtual classroom using the internet, including chat, a virtual blackboard and provision of teaching materials.

Re-examination of the patent was applied for by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and Canadian Blackboard competitor Desire2Learn in late 2006. It referred to copious evidence that the technology described by Blackboard was already being widely used elsewhere when the patent claim was submitted. The patent office has now broadly accepted the claim for prior art with some modifications.

We mentioned this story fairly recently and included more pointers for those who are new to the Blackboard nuisance (or leech).

Sharing Versus Restrictions

Creativity is a wonderful thing. Using their skills, many artists wish to share and impress with the fruits of their labour. They realise that good work without exposure goes unnoticed and unrewarded. So what kind of artist would religiously try to keep his/her work from spreading, or make the mistake of thinking only about the short-term gain, failing to realise that worth is a function of exposure? Have we not learned from MySQL’s one-billion-dollar market valuation? Glyn Moody touched on that and the lesson to be taken here is that by sharing ideas we all benefit and offer more value. The same rules apply to algorithms, which are a case of ideas, not copyrights (copyrights are ‘harder’).

One of the interesting side-effects of the increasing number of artists making their work freely available with great success is that it demonstrates a deep and hitherto unappreciated facet of creativity: that the main problem is never “infringement” but simply indifference.

[...]

Oh, of course, it doesn’t matter whether anyone *reads* your poetry, so long as you get paid for it. The idea that a real poet might be more concerned with the latter – and worry about the dosh later – is clearly an outmoded idea.

Right on the money (pun unintended).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  3. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  4. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  5. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  6. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  7. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)



  8. With the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Out of the Way Focus Will Return to EPO Corruption

    Expect the European Patent Office (EPO) to receive more negative attention now that the ’cause’ of UPC is lost and there’s no point pretending things are rosy



  9. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, March 26, 2020



  10. Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 25, 2020



  12. Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

    It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)



  13. Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora's New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

    Links for the day



  14. Guest Article: Window Managers, Github and Software Disobedience

    "Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom"



  15. Links 25/3/2020: LLVM 10.0.0 and UCS 4.4-4 Released, WordPress 5.4 RC4

    Links for the day



  16. 'Team UPC' Last Week

    The looks on Team UPC's faces 5 days ago (before and after the 9:30AM announcement)



  17. The Fall of the UPC - Part VII: Lies and Revisionism About the Reasons for the UPC's Ultimate Demise (to Leave the Door Open for More Failed Attempts)

    The media was lying in a hurry, in a coordinated effort to distort the meaning of the FCC's decision or belittle the impact of this decision; Techrights will carefully watch and respond to these lies



  18. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 24, 2020



  19. Linux Foundation Became Anti-Linux, Run by Microsoft People to Serve Microsoft's Agenda

    Microsoft is taking over the bodies of healthy projects, infecting the hosts in order for them to become slaves of the proprietary parasite; there's still no (known) cure, but we're familiar with the symptoms



  20. Microsoft Continues to Attack and Steal From the Open Source/Free Software Communities

    Microsoft cannot be trusted and there's no "new Microsoft," as another fairly new story serves to show



  21. Targeted Attack Leveraging FSF Servers

    Targeted by a determined and persist perpetrator, I've received over 20,000 E-mails. And the weapon of choice was the FSF's infrastructure, remotely misused against yours truly.



  22. If We Weren't Silencing Founders, Critics and People We Just Don't Like

    "In the long run, history is rarely very kind to tyrants, especially the ones who did little more than lie to people and demand things that served no real purpose."



  23. The Fall of the UPC - Part VI: Drowning in Material

    We're starting to see few good reports on the subject of UPC being rejected by the constitutional court of Germany; we also have a rapidly-growing 'buffer' of rather blatant examples of disinformation (which we'll tackle as best we can)



  24. FFII: EU Software Patent Court Stopped by Constitutional Court, Patent Industry Will Try Again

    The third attempt to validate software patents in Europe via a central patent court (UPC) has been stopped by the German Constitutional Court. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) would have given the keys of the kingdoms to the patent industry, and the last word over software patentability. FFII predict that the patent industry will continue to push for an UPC v2.0.



  25. Links 24/3/2020: Alpine 3.11.5, MythTV 31.0 and Tails 4.4.1

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, March 23, 2020



  27. Links 23/3/2020: Linux 5.6 RC7, Audacious 4.0, and Git 2.26 Released

    Links for the day



  28. The Fall of the UPC - Part V: Pretending That Opponents of the Unitary Patent Simply Don't Exist

    It's difficult if not totally impossible to find articles from impartial journalists -- let alone from actual scientists -- about the failure of the Unitary Patent and UPC Agreement (UPCA)



  29. The Fall of the UPC - Part IV: IP Kat Became Just a Team UPC Megaphone

    Willem Hoyng (Drafting Committee of the UPC's Rules of Procedure) is 'writing' IP Kat right now; has the blog turned into the very thing it fought to expose?



  30. The Fall of the UPC - Part III: Pure Comedy From Watchtroll and Its UPC Lobbyists From Managing IP

    Two megaphones of European Patent Office (EPO) management and boosters of Team Battistelli, namely Managing IP and Watchtroll, want us to think that UPC is merely “delayed” and that acts of overt corruption can be described as “passed unanimously by the Second Chamber of the Bundestag”


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts