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10.07.08

Patents Roundup: TiVo, Amazon and Community Patent

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents, Tivoization at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We’ve already mentioned TiVo’s role in the patent mess several times in the past, e.g. [1, 2]. Here is the very latest on this subject. [via Digital Majority]

The Supreme Court is refusing to disturb a $74 million judgment against Dish Network Corp. for violating a patent held by TiVo Inc. involving digital video recorders.

[...]

TiVo sued in 2004, alleging that EchoStar, a satellite broadcaster, infringed on TiVo’s patented technology that allows viewers to record one program while watching another. EchoStar Communications changed its name to Dish in late 2007.

Equally notorious for software patents is Amazon ('one-click shopping', anyone?), which has patented another very trivial ‘invention’.

Amazon patents ‘customer review incentives’

The self-described patent reform advocates at Amazon.com don’t seem to have broken their habit of putting legal hooks on just about anything they dream up.

Last Tuesday, Amazon was awarded a patent for “creating an incentive to author useful item reviews.”

Over at IAM, it is being claimed that a back door to software patents in Europe is likely at a standstill.

The vice-president of the European Commission, Gunter Verheugen, claims that he remains hopeful that a way forward can be found in negotiations over the creation of a one-stop Community patent covering the entire European Union. In an interview published at the end of last week, Verheugen – who is so committed to patents he fell asleep during a press conference on the subject in May – saluted the efforts of the Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies in getting talks moving. However, he did not mention France, the current holder of the presidency, despite the interviewer’s claim that the Community patent was a priority for the French.

Where is the “innovation” that they speak of? All we have here is a lawsuit, a laughable patents, and political games. It’s a total waste of time.

“I think that “innovation” is a four-letter word in the industry. It should never be used in polite company. It’s become a PR thing to sell new versions with.”

“It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”

Linus Torvald

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