Apple sued by patent holding company over 'multimedia voicemail'

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  • juggernaut30juggernaut30 Posts: 55member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I really wish people would stop with the 'patent troll' crap.



    If someone owns a patent, they have a right to enforce it - whether they are in a business which uses that patent or not.



    It's absurd to pretend that only people who are actually manufacturing products which use a technology should have the ability to enforce their patents.



    Yes, people should be compensated for solving problems with new processes or designs. But there has to be a reasonable time limit on the patent. You should get 5 or 10 years to take advantage of it. After that it becomes part of the public domain. Otherwise you just end up with these companies that essentially just sit on patents for YEARS and make the products I but more expensive.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by juggernaut30 View Post


    Yes, people should be compensated for solving problems with new processes or designs. But there has to be a reasonable time limit on the patent. You should get 5 or 10 years to take advantage of it. After that it becomes part of the public domain. Otherwise you just end up with these companies that essentially just sit on patents for YEARS and make the products I but more expensive.



    That creates other problems and could stale technological progress. If you only a 5 or 10 year window for profiting from a patent that means you shouldn't submit the patent until you are ready to ship a product so you can capitalize on the invention. That means that those with deeper pockets could stale your product after you submit the patent until they can then come in 5 or 10 years later free of any patent issues with a product you can compete with. I'm sure there are only dubious measures that could be taken to hurt competition.



    What if Corning never submitted their alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass (Gorilla Glass) because they never had a product? Would their CEO have been aware of this tech and would he have told Jobs about it so readily? What if Corning had kept the same patent date would CEO have told Jobs about it seeing as the patent would have expired a half-century ago?
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Which patents are those?



    One that immediately comes to mind involves apple vs. HTC. At least one (perhaps more) of those patent claims that Apple wanted to use in requesting a fast injunction wasn't being practiced by Apple. That's why they weren't considered by the ITC. If Apple wasn't using them then whether HTC was infringing didn't matter for the sake of an injunction to protect Apple products from being copied and sales impacted.



    If you just can't search it for yourself, I'll be happy to do it for you.





    EDIT: That only took a minute. Since FOSSPatents is generally trusted by a lot of forum members, this is from there:



    "Apple's contingent petition for review asked the ITC, for the event that it decided (as it did) to review the initial determination, to find HTC in infringement . . .



    U.S. Patent No. 5,481,721 on a "method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects"



    U.S. Patent No. 6,275,983 on an "object-oriented operating system"

    The Commission looked into issues concerning those two patents, but deemed the '721 patent invalid and not infringed, and concluded that the '983 patent was neither infringed nor practiced by Apple according to the ITC's claim construction (and under Apple's own claim construction, the Commission said the patent would still not be infringed, but it would be invalid).




    My memory is still intact for at least today.



    EDIT2: The '263 patent Apple is suing over is another that isn't being practiced by Apple themselves according to ITC docs.
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Patent trolling is like pornography, hard to define, but you know it when you see it.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post


    Read the case, this is absolutely a PATENT TROLL....I happen to love the term....these PATENT TROLL's do nothing but hinder progress for people who develop products.....any clown in a bar can scribble an idea on a napkin and patent it these days. I love to see the trolls drained of their remaining funds in a courtroom and I hope its a lesson to all other "would be" PATENT TROLLs.



    You obviously don't have any idea how the patent systems works.



    Furthermore, patents are a major factor in encouraging progress. Why would a company spend millions of dollars developing a new technology if they couldn't protect it? The company which innovates the most would be at the greatest disadvantage if everyone else were able to freely copy it.



    Finally, there's no such thing as a patent troll. It's a stupid phrase made up by people who don't understand how the patent system works or how companies innovate. Someone invents something. They convince the patent office that it's novel enough for a patent (this can be rebutted later if someone disagrees). If they are unable to use it, they are free to sell the technology to someone else who can either use it or license it.



    The ridiculous "If you don't commercialize it, you should lose it" argument completely guts the entire intellectual property system. Let's say I come up with a new way to make integrated circuits. It's novel enough to get a patent. It would cost me $1 B to build a fab. I don't have $1 B and no one is likely to loan me $1 B. So I can license the technology to someone or sell the patent. The purchaser of the patent has the same rights that I did and has every right to enforce the patent. Otherwise, big companies would essentially get every invention made by small companies or individuals free of charge.
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    ... Finally, there's no such thing as a patent troll. It's a stupid phrase made up by people who don't understand how the patent system works or how companies innovate. Someone invents something. They convince the patent office that it's novel enough for a patent (this can be rebutted later if someone disagrees). If they are unable to use it, they are free to sell the technology to someone else who can either use it or license it. ...



    This is a gross over-simplification of how the patent system works, the ends it serves and the abuses it's subject to.



    There are many legitimate patents (I'd go so far as to say most of them) that represent innovation, but there are also many half-baked, vague ideas that have been granted patents, sowing the seeds for abuse. The patent office simply doesn't have the expertise to sort these things out on its own, and the U.S. Congress has made matters worse by trivializing what's patentable. (The ultimate example of patentable things that ought not to be are naturally occurring DNA sequences. Not a method for identifying them, not a method for copying them, but the actual sequences themselves which no person "invented".)



    When a company's purpose is not to innovate, but simply to collect sketchy and essentially worthless IP (worthless by the standard of whether it represents, on its own, an actual concrete innovation), and where the primary activity of that company's employees is to simply look around at what's out there and profitable that may have a vague relation to a vague patent they own so the company can use that to extort payments, that company is a patent troll, a vulture capitalist, a parasite that stifles, not promotes, innovation.



    Let's not pretend that there aren't companies out there who do nothing but this. We know there are. This isn't the sort of activity patents were meant to promote, and these companies contribute nothing to innovation or society. They are, pure and simple, leeches that suck the life blood out of innovation and capitalism.



    This doesn't mean patents are evil, and there isn't an easy solution to the problem of patent trolls that doesn't end up penalizing small, under-financed inventors. That's exactly why these companies exist, because there is not easy way to stop them.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    This is a gross over-simplification of how the patent system works, the ends it serves and the abuses it's subject to.



    There are many legitimate patents (I'd go so far as to say most of them) that represent innovation, but there are also many half-baked, vague ideas that have been granted patents, sowing the seeds for abuse. The patent office simply doesn't have the expertise to sort these things out on its own, and the U.S. Congress has made matters worse by trivializing what's patentable. (The ultimate example of patentable things that ought not to be are naturally occurring DNA sequences. Not a method for identifying them, not a method for copying them, but the actual sequences themselves which no person "invented".)



    When a company's purpose is not to innovate, but simply to collect sketchy and essentially worthless IP (worthless by the standard of whether it represents, on its own, an actual concrete innovation), and where the primary activity of that company's employees is to simply look around at what's out there and profitable that may have a vague relation to a vague patent they own so the company can use that to extort payments, that company is a patent troll, a vulture capitalist, a parasite that stifles, not promotes, innovation.



    Let's not pretend that there aren't companies out there who do nothing but this. We know there are. This isn't the sort of activity patents were meant to promote, and these companies contribute nothing to innovation or society. They are, pure and simple, leeches that suck the life blood out of innovation and capitalism.



    This doesn't mean patents are evil, and there isn't an easy solution to the problem of patent trolls that doesn't end up penalizing small, under-financed inventors. That's exactly why these companies exist, because there is not easy way to stop them.



    You're confusing multiple issues to support a basically untenable argument.



    Are there patents that are awarded that should never have been allowed? Sure. But these are awarded to Apple and Google and Microsoft and General Motors as well as to little guys. The patent system could use some improvements to ensure that patents are truly valid.



    But beyond that, it makes no difference whether it's an Apple who gets a patent or a retired inventor working out of his garage. They should both have the same rights. And those rights include the decision to sell, commercialize, license, or do nothing with a patent. If a patent is valid, the inventor has every right (both legally and morally) to do anything they want with their patent - including someone who is in a better position to license it.



    The problem is that too many people don't understand the concept of intellectual property. Legally, in many ways it's similar to the ownership of a factory. If a small guy owns a factory and doesn't do anything with it, the big guys most certainly do not have the right to start using the factory. And if the small guy wants to sell the factory to a real estate investment firm who then rents the factory out, there's nothing wrong with that. No one would argue that the big guys could move in simply because the little guy didn't use his factory. And no one would call the real estate investment firm a 'real estate troll'.



    Patents are property - and need to be treated as such. The entire concept of a 'patent troll' suggests that someone else has more rights to dictate how a patent should be licensed or sold than the patent owner - and that's absurd.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,646member
    That's a really well-constructed argument that I largely agree with. While I might quibble with the reasons that some companies or individuals use their patents in the way they do (keep competitors out of a market, or perhaps intimidate smaller entities and developers) they have the right to use them as they see fit. If there's a disagreement that's what patent challenges and/or the courts are for.
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    ... Patents are property - and need to be treated as such. The entire concept of a 'patent troll' suggests that someone else has more rights to dictate how a patent should be licensed or sold than the patent owner - and that's absurd.



    Actually, I think the problem is that you look at issues through dogmatic blinders. Patents are property, but they are not "natural property", they are government granted property. And that grant of property is intended to further a specific goal. When players learn how to cheat the game to undermine that goal, then they need to be reined in, the rules need to be tightened, so that the original goal of patents is met. As I said, that isn't easy to do without hurting the small players, but that doesn't mean we throw up our hands and give up on the original goal and forget why patents exist, as we do under your theory of patents. There are patent trolls who are gaming the system and undermining the purpose of patents, and there's some hard work to be done, and no one willing to do it, to reform the patent system so that it serves its purpose and not the purpose of leeches who are gaming the system.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Actually, I think the problem is that you look at issues through dogmatic blinders. Patents are property, but they are not "natural property", they are government granted property. And that grant of property is intended to further a specific goal. When players learn how to cheat the game to undermine that goal, then they need to be reined in, the rules need to be tightened, so that the original goal of patents is met. As I said, that isn't easy to do without hurting the small players, but that doesn't mean we throw up our hands and give up on the original goal and forget why patents exist, as we do under your theory of patents. There are patent trolls who are gaming the system and undermining the purpose of patents, and there's some hard work to be done, and no one willing to do it, to reform the patent system so that it serves its purpose and not the purpose of leeches who are gaming the system.



    Who gets to define who is 'cheating the game'?



    What you're calling a 'patent troll' is not an abuse of the system. Let's say I'm a small investor. I invent a new way to make integrated circuits, but I can not afford a fab. And let's say that this innovation will greatly improve the technology. I am not a salesman and do not have the confidence or experience to work out a licensing agreement with Intel. An intellectual technology broker (which you call a 'patent troll') approaches me and says they'll buy the patent for $1 M - and then they license it to Intel.



    That is fully consistent with the societal goal of using patents to spur innovation. I had no intentions of ever using the patent, nor did the broker I sold the patent to have any technology of using the patent. Yet the perfectly valid patent was used to further the state of the art via licensing or resale.
  • hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    One that immediately comes to mind involves apple vs. HTC. At least one (perhaps more) of those patent claims that Apple wanted to use in requesting a fast injunction wasn't being practiced by Apple. That's why they weren't considered by the ITC. If Apple wasn't using them then whether HTC was infringing didn't matter for the sake of an injunction to protect Apple products from being copied and sales impacted.



    If you just can't search it for yourself, I'll be happy to do it for you.





    EDIT: That only took a minute. Since FOSSPatents is generally trusted by a lot of forum members, this is from there:



    "Apple's contingent petition for review asked the ITC, for the event that it decided (as it did) to review the initial determination, to find HTC in infringement . . .



    U.S. Patent No. 5,481,721 on a "method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects"



    U.S. Patent No. 6,275,983 on an "object-oriented operating system"

    The Commission looked into issues concerning those two patents, but deemed the '721 patent invalid and not infringed, and concluded that the '983 patent was neither infringed nor practiced by Apple according to the ITC's claim construction (and under Apple's own claim construction, the Commission said the patent would still not be infringed, but it would be invalid).




    My memory is still intact for at least today.



    EDIT2: The '263 patent Apple is suing over is another that isn't being practiced by Apple themselves according to ITC docs.



    But those patents were part of the Mac OS implementation and derived from MacOS/OS X development. A product line that does exist in the space the patents are being claimed against.



    Having used a patent in a previous product but using newer techniques that don't strictly apply the patent in current products is a world different than having a company that never ever has a product and simply exists to generate settlements or judgements from patent litigation.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    But those patents were part of the Mac OS implementation and derived from MacOS/OS X development. A product line that does exist in the space the patents are being claimed against.



    Having used a patent in a previous product but using newer techniques that don't strictly apply the patent in current products is a world different than having a company that never ever has a product and simply exists to generate settlements or judgements from patent litigation.



    It may be, but it doesn't negate the fact that licensing a patent even if you have no interest in manufacturing a product is perfectly legitimate. See my examples above.
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Who gets to define who is 'cheating the game'?



    What you're calling a 'patent troll' is not an abuse of the system. Let's say I'm a small investor. I invent a new way to make integrated circuits, but I can not afford a fab. And let's say that this innovation will greatly improve the technology. I am not a salesman and do not have the confidence or experience to work out a licensing agreement with Intel. An intellectual technology broker (which you call a 'patent troll') approaches me and says they'll buy the patent for $1 M - and then they license it to Intel.



    That is fully consistent with the societal goal of using patents to spur innovation. I had no intentions of ever using the patent, nor did the broker I sold the patent to have any technology of using the patent. Yet the perfectly valid patent was used to further the state of the art via licensing or resale.



    I already defined this all above. You can pretend I didn't and go straw-man on us, but you're completely ignoring points already made that negate your entire post.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    One that immediately comes to mind involves apple vs. HTC. At least one (perhaps more) of those patent claims that Apple wanted to use in requesting a fast injunction wasn't being practiced by Apple. That's why they weren't considered by the ITC. If Apple wasn't using them then whether HTC was infringing didn't matter for the sake of an injunction to protect Apple products from being copied and sales impacted.



    If you just can't search it for yourself, I'll be happy to do it for you.





    EDIT: That only took a minute. Since FOSSPatents is generally trusted by a lot of forum members, this is from there:



    "Apple's contingent petition for review asked the ITC, for the event that it decided (as it did) to review the initial determination, to find HTC in infringement . . .



    U.S. Patent No. 5,481,721 on a "method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects"



    U.S. Patent No. 6,275,983 on an "object-oriented operating system"

    The Commission looked into issues concerning those two patents, but deemed the '721 patent invalid and not infringed, and concluded that the '983 patent was neither infringed nor practiced by Apple according to the ITC's claim construction (and under Apple's own claim construction, the Commission said the patent would still not be infringed, but it would be invalid).




    My memory is still intact for at least today.



    EDIT2: The '263 patent Apple is suing over is another that isn't being practiced by Apple themselves according to ITC docs.



    1) Don't get snippy about having to prove your position, especially when it's a claim that no one else but you would have ever found.



    2) It sure looks like Apple has a "method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects" so I have no idea why you think this patent is not being used by Apple.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    But those patents were part of the Mac OS implementation and derived from MacOS/OS X development. A product line that does exist in the space the patents are being claimed against.



    Having used a patent in a previous product but using newer techniques that don't strictly apply the patent in current products is a world different than having a company that never ever has a product and simply exists to generate settlements or judgements from patent litigation.



    Where did you see those were both used in the MacOS product? You may be exactly right, but I hadn't seen that claim myself.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    I already defined this all above. You can pretend I didn't and go straw-man on us, but you're completely ignoring points already made that negate your entire post.



    Not at all. My point was that you think that you should be able to define what is a valid use of a patent rather than the courts. That is blatantly false and your attempts at making a definition are pointless.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,646member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    1) Don't get snippy about having to prove your position, especially when it's a claim that no one else but you would have ever found.



    2) It sure looks like Apple has a "method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects" so I have no idea why you think this patent is not being used by Apple.



    I was snippy? Sorry if that's how you took it. It's seems more common for some to question statements then sit back and wait rather than look for themselves. I'm in the latter camp that would rather do some searching. If I challenge someone's statements intended as fact it's generally because I couldn't find a source verifying the claim after looking for one.



    On why do I think Apple wasn't practicing those patents they were claiming, I didn't make that judgement. It came from more knowledgeable folks than me at the ITC, and based on Apple's own documents according to the FOSSPatents blog.
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    It may be, but it doesn't negate the fact that licensing a patent even if you have no interest in manufacturing a product is perfectly legitimate. See my examples above.



    No. Full stop. It means nothing of the kind. On the one hand you have Apple, which may have asserted a patent on technology which it developed across a product line and which wasn't currently being implemented in a related and derivative product line, and what people here are calling a "patent troll", that is a company that has no product line, no implementation, and no development of patentable technologies whatsoever, and whose only relationship to such technologies is via acquisition with intent to monetize via litigation.



    And you want the former to legitimatize the latter? That's absurd.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    No. Full stop. It means nothing of the kind. On the one hand you have Apple, which may have asserted a patent on technology which it developed across a product line and which wasn't currently being implemented in a related and derivative product line, and what people here are calling a "patent troll", that is a company that has no product line, no implementation, and no development of patentable technologies whatsoever, and whose only relationship to such technologies is via acquisition with intent to monetize via litigation.



    And you want the former to legitimatize the latter? That's absurd.



    You're making things up. I never used the former to legitimize the latter. I simply argued that no legitimatization of the latter was needed because there are perfectly legal and legitimate reasons for someone to own a patent that they have no intention of commercializing.



    See my example above.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,069member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I really wish people would stop with the 'patent troll' crap.



    If someone owns a patent, they have a right to enforce it





    I'm sorry but I must disagree with you.



    If a company owns a patent that they are not using and are not at least licensing to those that wish to use the tech (or at least listening to offers and considering licensing) and then they sue based on the possible common idea of the patent whether in fact the other company is using the same tech or even very similar tech in the same way, then they are a troll.



    This Brandywine certainly fits the bill. From the tech descriptions there is nothing in any Apple product that is their tech and yet they are suing for a violation. If that isn't trolling, what is.
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