06.27.08

It Must Be Official: The USPTO is (Brain) Dead

Posted in America, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will you have a look at this?

Selling Stuff On The Internet? Why, That Infringes On A Patent!

Erich Spangenberg was mentioned here earlier this week for having to pay $4 million for shuffling some patents around to shell companies and suing a company he had already agreed not to sue over those patents. Of course, that’s not slowing him down apparently. Not only has he asked for a new trial on that ruling, he’s continuing to file new patent lawsuits — with the latest one apparently being for a patent on selling stuff on the internet.

There is another ugly one with a bounty on its head. [via Digital Majority]

A company called Seer Systems has a patent on a system for joining different musical data types together in a file, distributing them over the internet, and then playing that file.

We are especially interested in prior art (before 1997) relating to downloading and playing parts of ‘musical work files’ in real time. One such example might be a system for streaming media files by taking the file one piece at a time and downloading the necessary sound files and musical data for that part before playing it and moving on to another section.

This is absolutely ridiculous. And no, there’s no oversimplification in the descriptions above. These happen to be the more notorious junk ‘ideas’ that shouldn’t have had any accompanying patents granted in the first place.

Since weak companies which get targeted are unwilling to challenge these ludicrous patents in court (it’s too expensive for some to bear), they simply settle. It means that the trolls get their way.

Over at IAM Magazine, it is now being shown that even IBM — a company with quite an extensive patent portfolio — may not be too comfortable with the state of the USPTO, either. [via Digital Majority]

He told me that IBM was opposed to the current regime in the US and preferred the European model under which business method patents are almost completely unavailable. Yes, the owner of the world’s largest portfolio of business method patents, largely amassed since the State Street Bank decision of 1998, believes that they are bad and unnecessary.

The most unfortunate thing is that stakeholders are attempting to expand broken laws onto other continents and countries. Microsoft is definitely a big part of this problem.

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