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Lawsuit claims Apple's iTunes video content violates patent - Page 2

post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Obviously, I would define a reference implementation as something that actually implements the invention that is being patented. At that point, it becomes pretty obvious what the invention does, and how it does it. There's no need to subjectively ban vague wording, which is technically not allowed now, just force "inventors" to actually show their invention as part of the application, which for software is not unreasonable. If they can't implement it, maybe they didn't actually invent anything.

But, again, the only reason to do this is the vague wording in the first place. And does a patent only cover what the reference implementation covers? What of the related hardware? Does it cover only that hardware that is shown in the reference implementation? What determines 'covers'? If their reference showed conversion to a laptop, would it only cover laptops, or would desktops also be covered? What about portable devices? Many people say the iPhone/iPod/iPad are 'computers', so would they be covered, but an iPod classic wouldn't be, due to that being something completely different? And is it different, since the iPod classic is a portable device, just like a laptop.

And does the patent office keep your 'reference implementation' so they can continually refer to it in the future to determine if there's patent infringement?

You say that vague language isn't the problem, since its not allowed now. But it is (as can be seen by so many software patents over the last 10-20 years). If you went back to the 1880s and developed a completely different way of transmitting voice over copper lines, you could have received a patent on that device, even though the telephone was already patented. The same should apply to software. If I can develop a way to convert graphic images to different formats in a way different than what they patented, I should be able to patent that. I should not be held up against something that more attempts to patent what amounts to a task more than anything else.
post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

But it was still three months. And this was with Psystar selling computers with OS X on it, installed. If there was anything slam-dunk, most would have said this was it. And yet it took Apple three months (maybe two months was just spent laughing?) to gather up data, details, review their side of things, and make sure something wasn't right.

But that three months before the lawsuit came after C& D letters and the requisite attempts to negotiate. That all takes time to do and document before you can go off an file a lawsuit. In the grand scheme 3 months is incredibly fast, for some things considered recklessly fast.

Quote:
And that was something simple (a contract/license on software), not a patent defense. Who knows how hard it was to determine if their patent was even being violated. People always make these things out to be as simple as "Someone ships product with patent violation in it, patent holder finds out immediately and files lawsuit".

With proprietary products nobody ever knows for sure. The suits related to chip and software implementations are almost always semi-blind fishing expeditions. The lawyers won't know anything until after the months of discovery procedure negotiation, expert vetting and then finally the start of code analysis. It's a process that takes millions of dollars for the defending company, no matter what because they have to catalog and cross reference everything potentially related to the case across the entire business, while only taking a few hundred thousand for the plantiff because they don't have to provide anything other than the patent and negotiation time until the experts actually have code to touch.
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post #43 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

But, again, the only reason to do this is the vague wording in the first place. And does a patent only cover what the reference implementation covers? What of the related hardware? Does it cover only that hardware that is shown in the reference implementation? What determines 'covers'? If their reference showed conversion to a laptop, would it only cover laptops, or would desktops also be covered? What about portable devices? Many people say the iPhone/iPod/iPad are 'computers', so would they be covered, but an iPod classic wouldn't be, due to that being something completely different? And is it different, since the iPod classic is a portable device, just like a laptop.

And does the patent office keep your 'reference implementation' so they can continually refer to it in the future to determine if there's patent infringement?

You say that vague language isn't the problem, since its not allowed now. But it is (as can be seen by so many software patents over the last 10-20 years). If you went back to the 1880s and developed a completely different way of transmitting voice over copper lines, you could have received a patent on that device, even though the telephone was already patented. The same should apply to software. If I can develop a way to convert graphic images to different formats in a way different than what they patented, I should be able to patent that. I should not be held up against something that more attempts to patent what amounts to a task more than anything else.

They aren't supposed to be granting vaguely worded idea patents now, but they are, so, clearly, the idea of banning vague wording, which is an entirely subjective criteria, isn't working, and won't work. Let them actually build the invention if they want a software patent. If it can't be built, then it's not patentable.
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

If what you say is true, then it's an automatic fail for these guys and they *are* trolls. Patents are granted on implementations not ideas, which is why you can't patent the idea of downloading or whatever other vague thing.

Well, the level of detail they get into is thus:

1) Start with progressive scan video input into a computer at any arbitrary framerate.
1a) Identify any arbitrarily desired output framerate.
1b) Produce an intermediate version of progressive scan video at the desired framerate, by selectively duplicating or dropping "some" of the frames. No algorithm is given to select which frames should be duplicated or dropped, nor how often frames should be duplicated or dropped to achieve the desired effect. So, presumably, they want to claim ownership over every technique of duplicating or dropping frames.
1c) Convert the intermediate progressive scan video into an interlaced video at the same frame rate. No algorithm is given for how to select which interlaced fields will be taken from which progressive scan frames to produce the interlaced output. So presumably, they want to claim ownership over every technique of converting progressive scan to interlaced.

2) Repeat (1), but in situations where the output is specifically at 25 frames per second at HDTV or PAL resolutions. No further details given.

3) Repeat (1), but in situations where the output is specifically at 30 frames per second at HDTV or NTSC resolutions. No further details given.

4) Repeat (1), but in situations where the output is specifically at 24 frames per second at any arbitrary resolution. No further details given.

5) through (15) Basically the same as (1), except with different combinations inputs starting out as either interlaced or progressive scan, being normalized to a common progressive scan intermediate format, and either outputting the intermediate progressive scan output directly, or else converting it into interlaced before outputting it. With special cases for 25 fps, 30 fps, and 24 fps final outputs. No greater implementation detail is provided than what was already provided in (1) through (4).

16) through (22) Specific applications of (1) through (15), where several instances of transcoding are put in sequence to specifically achieve a slightly time-distorted film to PAL conversion, and a slightly time-distorted film to NTSC conversion.
post #45 of 48
Haven't read all the posts, BUT if the company is claiming specific violations of hardware design or software methods to change formats, they might have a case. But if they're claiming that they have a patent on the idea of changing formats or aspect ratios to fit a particular device, they never should have received a patent in the first place.

Furthermore, most of these formats are open industry standards as established by AES, SMPTE, NISO, ISO and other organizations. No one "owns" the 29.97 fps rate or a 16:9 aspect ratio or drop frame time code, etc.

TV producers/stations have been "reformatting" widescreen movies to fit within a 1.33 standard definition TV aspect ratio since the 1950s (using pan-and-scan and other techniques.)

Getting a patent on the idea of changing formats is like getting a patent on reformatting text if you change from portrait to landscape. If you've developed a special unique method of accomplishing this, you deserve a patent. But you can't claim a patent simply based on the idea of reformatting text.
post #46 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

Well, the level of detail they get into is thus:

...

1b) Produce an intermediate version of progressive scan video at the desired framerate, by selectively duplicating or dropping "some" of the frames. No algorithm is given to select which frames should be duplicated or dropped, nor how often frames should be duplicated or dropped to achieve the desired effect. So, presumably, they want to claim ownership over every technique of duplicating or dropping frames.
1c) Convert the intermediate progressive scan video into an interlaced video at the same frame rate. No algorithm is given for how to select which interlaced fields will be taken from which progressive scan frames to produce the interlaced output. So presumably, they want to claim ownership over every technique of converting progressive scan to interlaced.

...

This is exactly the sort of nonsense that requiring them to submit an algorithm for software patents would immediately eliminate. No algorithms, no patents. The algorithm ought to define the "machine", not hand waving.
post #47 of 48
These sort of patents of the worst... come up with some vague idea for an obvious process, write a hand waving document about the process, and get a patent. Wait for somebody else to work out a functioning implementation, deploy it into the market, build a successful business. Then sue. Really, these companies are the bottom feeding scum of the business world. There needs to be some mechanism in the legal system so that companies that try this are hung out to dry if their case is as meritless as this is. They contributed nothing to the world and are just trying to leech money out of a success story. It is sad that companies actually delivering product have to pump so much money into legal departments to fight the unending series of these things.
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Providing grist for the rumour mill since 2001.
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post #48 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb;

Haven't read all the posts, BUT if the company is claiming specific violations of hardware design or software methods to change formats, they might have a case. But if they're claiming that they have a patent on the idea of changing formats or aspect ratios to fit a particular device, they never should have received a patent in the first place.

Furthermore, most of these formats are open industry standards as established by AES, SMPTE, NISO, ISO and other organizations. No one "owns" the 29.97 fps rate or a 16:9 aspect ratio or drop frame time code, etc.

TV producers/stations have been "reformatting" widescreen movies to fit within a 1.33 standard definition TV aspect ratio since the 1950s (using pan-and-scan and other techniques.)

Getting a patent on the idea of changing formats is like getting a patent on reformatting text if you change from portrait to landscape. If you've developed a special unique method of accomplishing this, you deserve a patent. But you can't claim a patent simply based on the idea of reformatting text.

That pretty much sums up my thinking on this.
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