Phone That Can Search The Internet & Display Ads Patented; Everyone Sued

from the oh-come-on dept

Looks like it may be time to update our patent thicket graphic. Another company that’s not actually doing anything in the space is suing everyone who is. A company named H-W Technology apparently holds a patent (7,525,955) on an “Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability” and has sued Apple, RIM, Google, Amazon, eBay, HTC, LG, Smasung, Microsoft, Nokia, Verizon and others for violating it. Because, you know, I’m sure no one possibly could have figured out how to put search and ads on a phone without this patent.



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Companies: amazon, apple, ebay, google, h-w, htc, lg, microsoft, nokia, rim, verizon

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Comments on “Phone That Can Search The Internet & Display Ads Patented; Everyone Sued”

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113 Comments
Stevensays:

Sure it’s obvious now, but waaaay back in 2005 when this was filed there’s no way anybody could have come up with this on their own! Obviously all these companies saw this patent and thought they could fly under the radar.

It certainly must have taken quite a bit of effort to find out all these companies were stealing this technology, after all it took two years from the issue date to start suing.

Sathedsays:

lol

LOL @ requiring an entire page to list off all the defendants! I have to wonder though… Why did it take so long for them to start suing? These guys should have started suing the day after the patent was approved. Sounds like they were luring companies in to the fold, waiting for the right time to strike. Either way, I smell a counter-suit.

Good luck H-W Technology… NOT!

Anonymoussays:

I don’t often wade into the patent-related content on this site, because without actually reading a patent, it’s impossible to know what is actually at issue (even when reading sources trying to be unbiased).

On the one hand, I would expect Mike and regular commenters to understand that the title of a patent doesn’t tell you what the patent actually covers. For example, this patent does not claim “put[ting] search and ads on a phone” as the article suggests.

On the other, that would mean that the article is intentionally (or maybe just negligently) misleading.

I’m not sure which would be worse in this case.

By the way, I’m not defending the patent. It might be invalid for any number of reasons. Who knows? But it doesn’t to anyone a service to suggest that it’s claiming something it doesn’t.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

You do realize that every provision in the patent is an “or” not an “and” right?

” wherein said IP phone is configured to receive contextual information from said server, wherein said IP phone comprises:

a memory unit operable for storing a computer program for performing contextual searches;”

Basically, this has been around for a long time, it is an obvious idea, and this is just one of the things that the patent covers. It covers many different iterations of the same thing/many different things, effectively making the patent cover a very broad idea and not a specific implementation, since it attempts to cover every possible implementation of an idea.

” a processor coupled to said memory unit, wherein said processor, responsive to said computer program, comprises:
circuitry for receiving a command to perform a contextual search;
circuitry for receiving search criteria;

So basically this is a patent on something designed to search.

Another thing the patent covers (again, it covers each of these implementations separately, it doesn’t cover their combination of implementations used together, since many of these are contradictory implementations that would make no sense, contrary to what IP maximists have tried to argue on Techdirt before).

“2. The system as recited in claim 1, wherein said server is configured to log actions of a user associated with viewing said list of merchants and contacting said merchants in said list.”

Basically, the patent covers exactly what MM says it does and more.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

another thing the patent covers

“9. A method for performing contextual searches on an Internet Phone (IP) phone comprising the steps of:

receiving a command to perform a contextual search;

receiving search criteria from a user of said IP phone;

submitting said search criteria to a server coupled to said IP phone; and

receiving from said server a list of merchants matching said search criteria and information regarding each of said merchants in said list;”

So basically it also covers online search engine advertising on the phone. If someone searches for something on a phone and gets an advertisement relevant to what they searched for, that’s patented. It’s covered by the patent, as quoted above. It’s not covering a specific implementation of it that’s restricted by the other provisions of the patents (those other provisions only add to what the patent covers, they don’t restrict what is being covered, otherwise it would make no sense for the USPTO to remove various provisions in response to prior art submissions, which has happened to various other patents before), it’s covering any general implementation of it as listed here and those other provisions (many of which are different/contradictory implementations of this and many of which cover contradictory ideas) merely add to what the patent covers, they do not restrict what the patent covers. Just to make that clear for the patent trolls around here that purposely try to obfuscate what these patents cover.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

The words “contradictory implementations” should have read “mutually exclusive implementations”

For example

“wherein said user’s contact and payment information is not transmitted to said one of said merchants listed, wherein said user’s contact and payment information is available to said one of said merchants listed.”

So both implementations are covered, since both of these are mutually exclusive.

Another example

(provision 1) “wherein a user of said IP phone completes a transaction with at least one of said merchants listed without the need to generate a voice call”

(provision 6) “circuitry for initiating a telephone call to said selected merchant via one of a wireless network, a voice network, a public switched telephone network and a data network.”

Notice how these two implementations from each provision are two mutually exclusive possibilities. One possibility, you call. The other possibility, you don’t call. The patent covers each provision separately, it can’t cover them both working together since they’re mutually exclusive possibilities (you either call or you don’t call, you can’t both call and not call).

Just to clear that up, because I’ve seen IP maximiists try to argue otherwise on other patents, but I’m not going to let you get away with such dishonest obfuscations so easily.

Unless specified otherwise, each of the following provisions that follow provision one such as

“2. The system as recited in claim 1, wherein said server is configured to log actions of a user associated with viewing said list of merchants and contacting said merchants in said list.”

list differences from provision one that the patent covers in addition to what’s covered by provision one.

Any Mousesays:

Re:

Actually, reading through the patent, it does claim just that.

1. A system, comprising:

an Internet Protocol (IP) phone coupled to a server…

7. The system as recited in claim 1, wherein said merchants in said list of merchants select one of a plurality of advertising services, wherein each of said plurality of advertising services provides a different level of advertising exposure.

8. The system as recited in claim 7, wherein said different levels of advertising exposure comprise a different amount of contextual information presented to a user of said IP phone.

9. A method for performing contextual searches on an Internet Phone (IP) phone comprising the steps of: …

Reading through this, almost every step goes back to what the title of this article suggests. How are you reading it otherwise?

Willtonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

because it would be unnecessarily long to post all of it and take up an unnecessary amount of space when people can merely click the link?

When discussing the scope of a patent, it is absolutely necessary to look at the entirety of the broadest claim (i.e., typically Claim 1). If you’re going to quote any of it, you should quote the whole thing.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

(in other words, he’s just summarizing what the patent covers and discussing what it covers instead of merely copying and pasting everything. MM did the same thing in the OP. Neither of them said anything that was incorrect or took anything out of context. But instead of discussing what the patent covers and why it is or isn’t valid, you merely chose to change the subject and discuss why the entire body of claim 1 wasn’t included. Since the patent is linked to already, there is no need to include the entire body, anyone can reference back to it as needed anytime during the discussion and quote from it as needed. You can do the same. So if you have any points to make, why not make them, instead of just ranting about why everything in the patent wasn’t included in the quote).

Willtonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

(in other words, he’s just summarizing what the patent covers and discussing what it covers instead of merely copying and pasting everything. MM did the same thing in the OP. Neither of them said anything that was incorrect or took anything out of context.
No? How do you know? Can you explain why his summary is not incorrect or out of context in view of Claim 1?

He can claim that he’s summarizing what it covers, but his summary could very well be incorrect. He’s better off posting the entirety of Claim 1 and we can decide for ourselves whether his summary is accurate.

But instead of discussing what the patent covers and why it is or isn’t valid, you merely chose to change the subject and discuss why the entire body of claim 1 wasn’t included. Since the patent is linked to already, there is no need to include the entire body, anyone can reference back to it as needed anytime during the discussion and quote from it as needed. You can do the same. So if you have any points to make, why not make them, instead of just ranting about why everything in the patent wasn’t included in the quote).
In order to come to a conclusion as to whether a patent claim is valid or invalid, ONE MUST READ THE ENTIRE CLAIM. Hence, only posting a fraction of it does not do the discussion justice, unless we only want to discuss said fraction.

Any Mouse was discussing how Mike’s summary of the claims was accurate. How can one make that determination by merely looking at just the preamble of Claim 1 and a few dependent claims?

Willtonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Stupid HTML. My last post should read as follows:

(in other words, he’s just summarizing what the patent covers and discussing what it covers instead of merely copying and pasting everything. MM did the same thing in the OP. Neither of them said anything that was incorrect or took anything out of context.

No? How do you know? Can you explain why his summary is not incorrect or out of context in view of Claim 1?

He can claim that he’s summarizing what it covers, but his summary could very well be incorrect. He’s better off posting the entirety of Claim 1 and we can decide for ourselves whether his summary is accurate.

But instead of discussing what the patent covers and why it is or isn’t valid, you merely chose to change the subject and discuss why the entire body of claim 1 wasn’t included. Since the patent is linked to already, there is no need to include the entire body, anyone can reference back to it as needed anytime during the discussion and quote from it as needed. You can do the same. So if you have any points to make, why not make them, instead of just ranting about why everything in the patent wasn’t included in the quote).

In order to come to a conclusion as to whether a patent claim is valid or invalid, ONE MUST READ THE ENTIRE CLAIM. Hence, only posting a fraction of it does not do the discussion justice, unless we only want to discuss said fraction.

Any Mouse was discussing how Mike’s summary of the claims was accurate. How can one make that determination by merely looking at just the preamble of Claim 1 and a few dependent claims?

Any Mousesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I was discussing how the claim that the patent was on an IP phone that shows ads and has a search function. If you want to read the entire thing, click through to it. I’m not your personal secretary. Use those 3 calories to move and click if you feel it necessary to read through all the claims and find something that disputes it.

I Did That In 2000

I built/deployed my first mobile advertising to IP based phones in 1999, and my first mobile search tools the same year…and I wasn’t the first.

Here’s a 2000 article that interviews me discussing it:
http://www.bayne.com/eb001201.htm

Where do we get these patent examiners? Of all the tools they use to search prior art, is one of them not Google?

The Devil's Coachmansays:

Re: Re: I Did That In 2000

Patent examiners are the most lazy and intellectually corrupt employees on the federal payroll. Add their pervasive stupidity to the equation,and you have a system designed to fail to perform its duties and responsibilities as described by law. As far as I’m concerned, any patent granted in the last twenty years is probably invalid. By the way, has anyone ever explored the pre- and post-employment histories of these wankers? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see the typical regulators/regulated jobs rotations that you see in financial and defense circles.

Mesays:

Re: Re: Re: I Did That In 2000

That’s assuming a lot. I have a friend, a recently graduated lawyer (and believe it or not, he’s not a bad guy) who’s currently working in the USPTO. He is VERY frustrated, very un-challanged, paid a pittance, and has huge school debt. This is someone who desperately wants to HELP people, and instead he’s stuck reading stupid patents like this one, and is looking at evil-lawyer-type jobs, just so he can pay back his loans. He wants to change the world, and I’ve been trying to tell him, do a decent, thoughtful job in the USPT office, and you’re doing more good then most lawyers.

Calling EVERYONE in the office a “bunch of wankers” isn’t really fair.. it’s like calling all the employees of a company ran by a douchebag, douchebags..how much influence do they really have in deciding how the company is run? How much influence to the patent peons have in how they do their job?

… that said, in the general sense, you’re probably right.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I Did That In 2000

It’s funny, most of the people I know that know lawyers, like most of the lawyers they know. Yet many are still willing to believe the “lawyers are scum” generalization and that the lawyers they know/like are the exceptions.

Just like you seem willing to believe that your friend who is a good guy is the exception and that, “in the general sense,” the characterization that most PTO examiners are “he most lazy and intellectually corrupt employees on the federal payroll” is probably right.

Overcastsays:

The damn date on the patent is 4-28-09. It was filed in May of 2005…

http://blog.brightcove.com/en/2009/03/first-internet-phone-circa-1996

Smart phones that could get to the web have existed longer than 2005 as seen in the above link. This is obviously outright abuse of the legal system. It they could get to the web – they obviously had to use IP – at least by proxy.

They also claim to be the ‘inventors’ – isn’t that contempt of court, furnishing false information, fraud, and such as well?

Anonymoussays:

Ok, since everyone is diving of the “OMG they patented an internet phone!!??!!” deep-end, I figured it might be useful to bring this discussion back to reality.

This is one of the broadest claims in the patent (others essentially cover the same thing in different forms):

“1. A system, comprising:

an Internet Protocol (IP) phone coupled to a server,

wherein said IP phone is configured to receive contextual information from said server, wherein said IP phone comprises:

a memory unit operable for storing a computer program for performing contextual searches;

a processor coupled to said memory unit, wherein said processor, responsive to said computer program, comprises:
circuitry for receiving a command to perform a contextual search;
circuitry for receiving search criteria;
circuitry for submitting said search criteria to said server; and
circuitry for receiving from said server a list of merchants matching said search criteria and information regarding each of said merchants in said list;
wherein a user of said IP phone completes a transaction with at least one of said merchants listed without the need to generate a voice call;
wherein said information received by said user of said IP phone comprises a variety of offers, wherein said user selects one of said variety of offers associated with said one of said merchants listed, wherein said selected offer is transmitted to said one of said merchants listed electronically; and
wherein said user’s contact and payment information is not transmitted to said one of said merchants listed, wherein said user’s contact and payment information is available to said one of said merchants listed.”

Now, maybe that’s obvious or anticipated or invalid for some other reason. But I’m just posting it to show how all the “OMG!!” freakout regarding “ads and search on phones” is really not very relevant.

Re:

“wherein said information received by said user of said IP phone comprises a variety of offers, wherein said user selects one of said variety of offers associated with said one of said merchants listed, wherein said selected offer is transmitted to said one of said merchants listed electronically; and”

It should be invalidated for being obfuscated as all get-out.

ChurchHatesTuckersays:

Re:

The devil is in the details, or rather, the Detailed Description. Pity Google doesn’t textify those as well.

This is the problem: It’s not a patent for how to implement something. You can’t look at this and go build an iPhone or whatever. It’s every idea on how such a thing might possibly be implemented that the author could think of. And some he couldn’t, for good measure:

It is noted that method 800 may include other and/or additional steps that, for clarity, have been omitted.

Willtonsays:

Re: Re:

Why isn’t it? You’ve posted part of the patent and told us absolutely nothing about why we shouldn’t freak out, just that we shouldn’t.

He posted Claim 1, which is typically the broadest claim. Hence, from an infringement standpoint, it’s the most important part of the patent. From there you can make a determination as to how broad or narrow this patent is.

As for why you shouldn’t freak out, it’s because no one has provided a reason why we should freak out. Not freaking out should be standard operating procedure. So why don’t you have a look at Claim 1 and tell us why we should divert from SOP?

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re:

“From there you can make a determination as to how broad or narrow this patent is.”

So, in light of your astoundingly vague clarification, am I to presume that you’re suggesting the patent doesn’t matter because it’s really narrow? I think you’re possibly missing the entire point of this story, which is that a bunch of companies have been sued for something that is either obvious or broad enough for them all to have infringed it unwittingly.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

I’m simply saying the basis for the freak out is unwarranted. This patent does not cover what the article (and several early commenters) assumed it covered.

Maybe there are other legitimate reasons to freak out.

It’s just annoying to see people say what a blatant abuse of law this is based on the title of the patent

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re:

“This patent does not cover what the article (and several early commenters) assumed it covered.”

The implications of this suggestion seem to be that the patent in question must have been titled to intentionally mislead. After all, if it’s misleading to use the title of a patent as the basis for the title of a story about the patent then that would seem to highlight a problem with the title of the patent.

“It’s just annoying to see people say what a blatant abuse of law this is based on the title of the patent

No, people seem to be saying that it’s a blatant abuse of the law based on the fact that a bunch of companies are being sued for an idea that is either obvious enough or broad enough for them all to be infringing it. Perhaps they saw the patent and copied it and I would love for you to make that accusation.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The implications of this suggestion seem to be that the patent in question must have been titled to intentionally mislead.”

That’s ridiculous, and rests on the assumption that the title of a patent is a full description of what it claims. Anyone making that assumption really knows very little about patents. How do you propose they title the patent? Spend 2 pages and 20 paragraphs on the title?

“people seem to be saying that it’s a blatant abuse of the law based on the fact that a bunch of companies are being sued for an idea that is either obvious enough or broad enough for them all to be infringing it”

Which other commenter has identified that as the basis? Also, most people arguing obviousness are doing so based solely on the one-sentence description of what the patent covers. That’s the problem.

Why is it somehow indicative of a problem that lots of people are being sued?

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“That’s ridiculous, and rests on the assumption that the title of a patent is a full description of what it claims.”

Not a fully detailed description, but one would presume a fully accurate description. Don’t make me give an example of how language can be both vague and accurate. You seem to be saying that while the title is good enough to use in their patent application, it’s not good enough to use in an article about the patent.

Maybe you’re referring specifically to the quip at the end of the article, which is funny both because it’s a joke and because it’s something you appear to be basing your entire understanding of Mike’s article on. I guess it’s OK for patent titles to be inaccurate, but not jokes.

“Which other commenter has identified that as the basis?”

Uh, no other. I’m saying that’s the basis for their comments. I’d be sorry for the ambiguity except I’m not sure what difference it makes to the issue at hand.

“Also, most people arguing obviousness are doing so based solely on the one-sentence description of what the patent covers”

So, I’m unable to make assumptions about the basis for their comments but you are?

“Why is it somehow indicative of a problem that lots of people are being sued?”

Because they appear to be sued for no good reason. If you’ve evidence that this patent fostered the tiniest bit of innovation then I’m sure everyone would be glad to hear of it.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“You seem to be saying that while the title is good enough to use in their patent application, it’s not good enough to use in an article about the patent.”

That’s exactly what I’m saying, at least when the title is all that is used in the article to criticize the patent.

You see, whereas the patent starts with the title, then gives a full and detailed description. Mike’s article uses only the title, then a snarky comment about how the subject matter of the title.

That’s a pretty significant difference, wouldn’t you say?

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“at least when the title is all that is used in the article to criticize the patent.”

You mean, apart from all that about the companies being sued by another company that doesn’t actually do anything productive.

“Mike’s article uses only the title, then a snarky comment about how the subject matter of the title.”

Yes, because he writes a blog and not a patent application. If you could tell us why the full and detailed description makes the slightest inkling of difference to the fact that a bunch of companies are being sued by another company that doesn’t do anything useful then maybe you’d have a point.

“That’s a pretty significant difference, wouldn’t you say?”

You see, what I’m driving at here, is the possibility of you explaining what it’s a significant difference to in relation to this story. Will less companies be sued if he recites the entire patent word for word?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not talking about how many companies are being sued. I’m not sure why you are (ad nauseum).

The article contained a criticism of the supposed content of what the patent covers, as did most of the early commenters, based on a misperception/misrepresentation of what the patent covers.

That is what I’ve been critizing, and I’m not sure why you want to talk about some other issue in responding to my posts (other than maybe just wanting to be contrary).

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I’m not talking about how many companies are being sued. I’m not sure why you are (ad nauseum).”

Here it is again: the point of the article is not reliant on the title of the patent, but on the fact that a bunch of companies are being sued by another company for no apparent good reason.

“The article contained a criticism of the supposed content of what the patent covers, as did most of the early commenters, based on a misperception/misrepresentation of what the patent covers.”

You’re arguing that the title of the patent is a misrepresentation of what the patent covers and blaming it on Mike.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s amazing to me how many Techdirt commenters feel like they alone understand what “the point of the article” is, and can therefore dismiss any valid criticism of any other point/assertion made in the article.

I am blaming Mike for making a judgment on the merits of a patent based, apparently, on the title of the patent. There is nothing wrong with titling a patent in a manner that does not provide a thorough assessment of the patent. There is something wrong with criticizing that patent based on the title.

What about that is so hard to understand?

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“It’s amazing to me how many Techdirt commenters feel like they alone understand what “the point of the article” is, and can therefore dismiss any valid criticism of any other point/assertion made in the article.”

I don’t think I’m alone in understanding the point of the article, but I’ve read enough of Mike’s articles on patents to be confident that I do. I’m dismissing your criticism because your whole point seemed to be that we shouldn’t freak out because of the title, when the title isn’t why I’m freaked out.

What about that is so hard to understand?

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

‘Why are you assuming that the basis for others’ comments is something that only you have pointed out, and not the actual things said in their comments (i.e., people were doing “that” before this patent was applied for)?’

Some of the comments do seem to make assumptions about the scope of the patent, but I don’t think it effects why they have a problem with the patent, which is what I was making assumptions about. Whether the patent is for for showing ads on internet searches or only doing so on a certain day at a certain time, it’s still evidently too broad or obvious unless all the companies based their ideas off the patent.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

The allegation that lots of people do something now, does not mean it was obvious to do so when this patent was filed (or when the claimed invention was conceived/reduced to practice).

If that’s the sole basis for your conclusion that the patent should be invalid for obviousness, that might be a worse basis than the title (which is a pretty f-ing bad basis for invalidity judgments).

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The allegation that lots of people do something now, does not mean it was obvious to do so when this patent was filed (or when the claimed invention was conceived/reduced to practice).”

Like I said, if they used this patent to come up with the idea then it would make sense. Perhaps all the companies did copy the patent. None of that is a judgement on the validity of the patent within the patent system, but an observation that the patent system is broken.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Now, maybe that’s obvious or anticipated or invalid for some other reason. But I’m just posting it to show how all the “OMG!!” freakout regarding “ads and search on phones” is really not very relevant.

Hmmm reading through all the ‘said’s it appears the bit you have posted appears to pretty much describes a fairly standard e-commerce search engine/deal aggregator type transaction not very different from say ciao.com or even Amazon Marketplace. Those kinds of things as far as I can tell predate the patent and sticking it on a phone that by dint of having IP connectivity must be able to do the same thing is hardly a creative stretch.

So what in there should stop people having an “OMG!” reaction if they choose? My reaction was somewhat different…. but not by much and that was after reading your post.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

It’s the basis of the OMG reaction that I object to. This patent simply does not cover the scope of technology that the article implies it covers, and so people’s reaction based on that false implication is unwarranted.

Basically, I’m hoping to make people think twice about judging a patent by its title (or third-party descriptions that only give you a title or similarly unhelpful summary).

As I said before, there may be some other grounds from saying this patent is bad or good or whatever.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Now, maybe that’s obvious or anticipated or invalid for some other reason. But I’m just posting it to show how all the “OMG!!” freakout regarding “ads and search on phones” is really not very relevant.

Hmmm reading through all the ‘said’s it appears the bit you have posted appears to pretty much describes a fairly standard e-commerce search engine/deal aggregator type transaction not very different from say ciao.com or even Amazon Marketplace. Those kinds of things as far as I can tell predate the patent and sticking it on a phone that by dint of having IP connectivity must be able to do the same thing is hardly a creative stretch.

So what in there should stop people having an “OMG!” reaction if they choose? My reaction was somewhat different…. but not by much and that was after reading your post.

Hephaestussays:

“Because, you know, I’m sure no one possibly could have figured out how to put search and ads on a phone without this patent.”

You forgot the /SARC tag at the end.

The tech companies should start lobbying to get the patent system reworked. Eventually they are going to realize that it would cost them less to lobby, than pay for lawyers and settlements.

Not an Electronic Rodentsays:

Re: Hope they have REALLY good IP lawyers

Those guys probably pay their IP lawyers more than the entire net worth of H-W Technology.
There are 2 things I find worrying about that post;
Firstly that it’s probably true..
Secondly that the statement actually has bearing on the outcome. Aren’t “right” (as in correct) and “justice” (as in fairness) in the legal system supposed to be independent of the amount of money spent on them? (Oooh I LIKE the colour of my new glasses – all rosy.. everything looks so pink and fluffy now)

REM(RND)says:

I will admit, this is the first patent I have actually looked at in all the stories about patents that have been written here. And I have to say that I cannot believe that something so broad and generic can be locked down. Are all patents like this? I thought you had to be specific, like submitting code or a circuit or something other than just a flowchart saying ‘somehow this happens and somehow that happens and therefore I own it’.

It reminds me of a math comic where a scientist has written down a massive formula but in step 2 he writes ‘Then a Miracle Occurs’. These patents appear to be protecting everyone’s Step 2’s.

If this is what it’s all about, then allow me to submit my patent for ‘Method of Allowing One’s-Self the Ability to Redirect One’s Genetailia to Allow for Hind-Most Orificial Insertion with Mild Discomfort’. Then I can sue anyone who has ever told someone to go f&^$ themselves.

staffsays:

not actually doing anything

“Another company that’s not actually doing anything in the space”

Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don?t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org.

Gotchasays:

Liar, liar pants on fire

This is typical of Masnick, saying a patent covers something it doesn’t in order to sensationalize and inflame. This patent does not cover an “Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability”. Mike, you are a damn liar to deliberately say it does. You know very well that is just a title, not a patent claim. Even someone as dishonest as Mike knows you can’t infringe a patent title, you can only infringe a patent claim. If Mike was trying to be honest (but being honest would not inflame TD’s readership), he would have checked the claims and the prosecution history of the patent to see what it actually covers. The last paragraph of claim 1 was the distinguishing subject matter that resulted in allowance, and portrays a much, much narrower scope than Mike dishonestly implies. The ‘955 patent covers an IP phone that displays ads, lets you choose what to buy, allows you to order without making a phone call, and allows the seller to charge your account without getting your contact or account information (which is important to help prevent identity theft). That last clause of claim 1 expresses that limitation on the scope in this way: “wherein said information received by said user of said IP phone comprises a variety of offers, wherein said user selects one of said variety of offers associated with said one of said merchants listed, wherein said selected offer is transmitted to said one of said merchants listed electronically; and wherein said user’s contact and payment information is not transmitted to said one of said merchants listed, wherein said user’s contact and payment information is available to said one of said merchants listed.” That is admittedly rather awkward wording, but the intent seems clear enough.

As to infringement, anticipation and obviousness, this claim seems to me to read on a PayPal or Google Checkout enabled smartphone purchasing app since those make your charging information available to merchants without transmitting the actual account information. That is, after all, one of the main appeals of PayPal and Google Checkout, that you know your account information stays at PayPal or Google and all the merchant needs and gets is the public name of the PayPal or Google account. That is obvious enough now. However, dial back the clock to 1995 and ask again, were those around in 1995 when this patent was filed? PayPal dates back to 1998-1999 when Confinity and X-com merged and was designed as payment system for a Palm Pilot. Whether that approach was public 5 years earlier, that is, before the critical date in 1994 will be a question for the Court to decide.

But, to blatantly post that a patent covers its title rather than its patent claim is irresponsibility of the sort for which Mike Masnick is infamous. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

‘This patent does not cover an “Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability”.’

Why would they choose that as the title of the patent if it isn’t an accurate description for what the patent covers? Is the lesson of this story that people who write patents write intentionally misleading titles, or are you saying that it’s OK for the patent writers to describe the patent in those terms but no one else?

“That is, after all, one of the main appeals of PayPal and Google Checkout, that you know your account information stays at PayPal or Google and all the merchant needs and gets is the public name of the PayPal or Google account. That is obvious enough now. However, dial back the clock to 1995 and ask again, were those around in 1995 when this patent was filed?”

Are you suggesting that PayPal and Google got those ideas from this patent too? That seems to be the only logical explanation for your argument.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“Why would they choose that as the title of the patent if it isn’t an accurate description for what the patent covers?”

Because a title that fully describes every iteration of the patents claims would be identical to the patent claims (i.e., many paragraphs long).

Just like the title to a book doesn’t tell you every detail of what’s in that book.

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“Because a title that fully describes every iteration of the patents claims would be identical to the patent claims”

Huh? Why would it need to fully describe every iteration to be accurate? Domestic cat is an accurate description for over 80 breeds of feline.

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

‘But if a patent only covers siamese cats born on the 3rd of July after 3:17pm on an odd-numbered year and having no more than 3 whiskers, then criticizing that patent solely as a “domestic cat” patent is misleading.’

So, we’re agreeing to ignore your failure to grasp the meaning of the word accurate? Regardless, the patent is evidently too broad or too obvious unless every single company being sued somehow got their idea from the patent itself. Given that the subject of criticism is the broadness or obviousness of the patent and not the title of the patent then I fail to see your point. It could be titled ‘method to show ads on the 3rd of July after 3:17pm on an odd-numbered year and having no more than 3 somethings’ for all the difference it makes to the fact they’re suing everyone. It might ruin Mike’s joke a bit, or make it more funny.

Instead of telling us how this patent has had any positive effect and is in any way justified as a basis for suing, you argue over the fact that Mike references the patent by its actual title.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

I’m not sure what you’re

“Regardless, the patent is evidently too broad or too obvious unless every single company being sued somehow got their idea from the patent itself. “

So now we’ve moved on from what the patent actually covers to an assumption that any patent infringed by lots of people must be invalid?

“Instead of telling us how this patent has had any positive effect and is in any way justified as a basis for suing…”

Are you actually reading anything I post? I’ve repeatedly said I have no opinion on whether this patent is valid/invalid/good/bad/justified/etc.

Why is it any time I criticize some aspect of a Techdirt article an army of commenters jumps in assuming I take the opposite position on every topic ever discussed on Techdirt?

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“So now we’ve moved on from what the patent actually covers to an assumption that any patent infringed by lots of people must be invalid?”

I don’t know, did someone mention validity? I’m looking more along the lines of ‘the patent system is broken’, especially if it is valid. If you can explain to me how this patent could possibly be justified then go ahead.

“I’ve repeatedly said I have no opinion on whether this patent is valid/invalid/good/bad/justified/etc.”

My mistake. I guess this whole conversation is you arguing that Mike is misleading people for no apparent reason then.

“Why is it any time I criticize some aspect of a Techdirt article an army of commenters jumps in assuming I take the opposite position on every topic ever discussed on Techdirt?”

A) because you’re criticising Mike for referring to a patent by its title and B) because you’re posting anonymously so the odds are in our favour that you are in fact a troll. Want respect? Pick a name.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“I don’t know, did someone mention validity? “

Yes. I cannot understand how you’ve gotten this far without realizing this.

“I guess this whole conversation is you arguing that Mike is misleading people for no apparent reason then.”

I think his reason for misleading people because most of his readers lap it up. My reasons for criticizing his writing is because (a) his misleading writing is annoying, especially since he purports to understand the patent system, and (b) many commenters don’t seem to understand that they are being misled.

For clarification, I am not criticizing Mike “for referring to a patent by its title.” I am criticizing Mike for using the title as a basis for criticism, when he knows or ought to know that that tells you next to nothing about the merits/content of what the patent claims.

“because you’re posting anonymously so the odds are in our favour that you are in fact a troll.”

Want respect? Judge what is said by its merit, not who says it.

Any Mousesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

Fine, then let’s look at the suit, shall we?

39.

The ?955 Patent is generally directed to novel, unique and non-obvious systems and methods of using a multi-convergence device, including phones commonly referred to as ?smartphones?, which are able to converge voice and data within a single terminal, and which allow users of such devices via domain specific applications to receive information and offers from merchants and to complete a transaction with one of said merchants without having to generate a voice call.

Now, what part of this, which is the only claim being made about the patent itself, can you dispute with regards to what Mike posted?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

First, in direct answer to your question, Mike mentions nothing about completing a transaction or how that is done.

Second, I don’t care what the plaintiff says in their complaint or public statements or whatever. The patent covers what the claims state, not what the plaintiff says they state. Not what the title of the patent says. Not what media outlets say. The excerpt you quoted mentions nothing of the lac k of transmission of data to the merchant, which is another limitation of at least claim 1 of thee patent.

That presents a much more narrower claim than “search and ads on a phone.”

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“Yes. I cannot understand how you’ve gotten this far without realizing this.”

Hey, you accused me of assuming that the patent must be invalid. I pointed out that I hadn’t really given any thought to the matter. If you’d care to explain how the validity of the patent is essential to any of what I’ve said then go ahead.

“I think his reason for misleading people because most of his readers lap it up.”

I’m not sure what you’re saying here. It appears to be that Mike is misleading people for the sake of it. Is there a reason you believe Mike would mislead people just because he can?

“I am criticizing Mike for using the title as a basis for criticism”

I am saying that his criticism is not based on the title of the patent. You seem to believe that you understand his intent better than I do, despite not agreeing with him.

“Want respect? Judge what is said by its merit, not who says it.”

I’d rather do both. I happen to believe that opinions about people based on past experience are a useful aspect of communication. If I can’t see the merit in something and it comes from a complete stranger then I’m less likely to suspect I may be wrong than if it comes from someone who usually says stuff of merit.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

Mike wrote: “Because, you know, I’m sure no one possibly could have figured out how to put search and ads on a phone without this patent.”

If that’s not based on the title of the patent, what do you think it’s based on? Certainly not the claims.

“I happen to believe that opinions about people based on past experience are a useful aspect of communication. “

I agree completely, if you’re talking about past experience with a particular person. But making assumptions about individuals you do not have experience (or do not knowingly have experience with) is not a useful prejudice.

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“If that’s not based on the title of the patent, what do you think it’s based on? Certainly not the claims.”

Like I said before, you seem to be basing your entire understanding of the article on a joke. I mean, Oh My God. He contradicted himself by only saying ‘search and advertising’ in the joke whereas he’d mentioned internet protocol before.

“But making assumptions about individuals you do not have experience (or do not knowingly have experience with) is not a useful prejudice.”

No, but it’s a pretty inevitable one. I do my best to not make assumptions about anonymous posters but when the majority of dissenting anonymous posters are merely abusing the ability to the fullest, it’s certainly not something that’s going to help you. Frankly, not knowing of any compelling reason for someone to not just put in a name every time they post, it’s pretty low down on my list of things to care about. If you have a compelling reason to share with me then perhaps I’ll be more careful in future. The one I’ve heard before is that someone wanted people to take their posts more on individual merit and not because of who they are, in which case fair enough, but it’s hardly a compelling reason from my point of view.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liar, liar pants on fire

“So now we’ve moved on from what the patent actually covers to an assumption that any patent infringed by lots of people must be invalid?”

Yes, but it’ s hardly a case of “moved on” but rather the entire point of the article you’re arguing with.

Let me see if I an put in simple terms. The reason that there’s a patent system in the first place is to protect ideas. It’s meant to be in place so that people can invent things and have enough time to profit from those ideas before people start to copy them and “steal” their profits.

If a company has patented an idea, but every single competitor has managed to proft from that idea while waiting for it to be patented, that leaves 2 basic options. One is that all of those companies have “stolen” the idea and thus violated the patent – unlikely but I’m sure it can be proven if it does happen. The other is that the idea was so blindingly obvious in the first place that every other company came up with it independently.

The latter option is almost certainly what happened here, given the complete lack of any kind of product from the patent holder. This is a problem, and the reason why patent trolls are hated. A system that allows people to patent ideas, do absolutely nothing with them, and then sue those who do something that resembles the idea for a successful product is broken. End of story.

Rather than split hairs over the exact relationship between the title and body of the patent, you would do well to actually listen to the basic point of the article. This is just another example of how people are trying to profit from a system that allows them to make money from absolutely nothing. It is wrong, no matter how you frame it, and it hinders innovation (who wants to make a useful, profitable product that gets you sued from hundreds of comapnies, even if the idea is original and not made by anyone else?).

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