12.31.09

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David Kappos Can Reprimand IBM for Mocking the USPTO’s Intelligence

Posted in Google, IBM, Patents at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Kappos

No, just more of the same apparently

Summary: IBM earns a monopoly on abbreviations, so its person in the USPTO has a professional (if not moral) responsibility to end such nonsense

David Kappos, who came from IBM, ought to pay attention to what his former employer is doing. From Slashdot:

theodp writes “Among the last batch of patents granted in 2009 was one for IBM’s Resolution of Abbreviated Text in an Electronic Communications System. The invention of four IBMers addresses the hitherto unsolvable problem of translating abbreviations to their full meaning — e.g., ‘IMHO’ means ‘In My Humble Opinion’ — and vice versa. From the patent: ‘One particularly useful application of the invention is to interpret the meaning of shorthand terms … For example, one database may define the shorthand term “LOL” to mean “laughing out loud.”‘ USPTO records indicate the patent filing was made more than a year after Big Blue called on the industry to stop what it called ‘bad behavior’ by companies who seek patents for unoriginal work. Yet another example of what USPTO Chief David Kappos called IBM’s apparent schizophrenia on patent policy back when he managed Big Blue’s IP portfolio.”

Indeed.

This is not the first such example* and IBM is not the only culprit. Here is a new one from Google:

Let’s start with an overview of the patent. As explained in the official application (hat tip to Erik Sherman), “The present invention includes systems and methods for modifying playback of online hosted videos via interactive annotations, allowing the creation of interactive games.”

[...]

Considering that YouTube can already handle annotations and time markers, this concept would be easy enough to implement. That’s one possible hurdle down.

This is just a digital/Internet equivalent of D&D books and games. This needs to be denied for being so trivial and not novel. It’s one of those infamous “over the Internet” patents.

Lastly, according to TechDirt’s interpretation of an article, the intellectual monopoly system is only being miused to overcharge people.

There is no legitimate basis for this at all. It’s a clear misuse of intellectual property laws — which were never designed for this sort of thing — to prevent independent auto mechanics from repairing newer cars. But it’s the end result of the increasing creep of intellectual property rights, and the growing computerization of everything. It allows manufacturers to extend “IP” rights to physical goods, and create all sorts of new monopolies. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t need a separate law. It would be a clear violation of antitrust laws. But, we don’t live in a perfect world, and for the time being you’re probably paying a lot more money to repair your car because of it.

There is no room for this type of abuse, Thomas Jefferson would probably have argued. This system loses its legitimacy when it starts hurting — not serving — the citizens.

“The European Patent Office is a corrupt malicious organisation which should not exist. [...] But if the European Patent Office stands in your way, get rid of it too.”

Richard Stallman, April 2009

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* Only if/when the PR backlash is too great, IBM might dump such bogus patents, as Bob Sutor did over a year ago.

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A Single Comment

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    December 31, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Gravatar

    “This needs to be denied for being so trivial and not novel.”
    Fortunately, right now that Google patent is just an application.

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