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Apple to pay $8M in damages over iPod playlist patent suit - Page 3

post #81 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Thanks for the thoughtful (and respectful) reply. I still don't know that I agree with you, but you've given me food for thought. I do take your point that this is massively complex.

Always a pleasure to debate issues with someobody who has an open mind.
post #82 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

When results are this badly skewed from the national average, doesn't that bother you at all? Brings back memories of the bad old days of southern justice when civil rights cases were routinely decided against the plaintiff.

The problem is that despite the outlying plaintiff:defendant win ratio, and despite the fact that this court is extremely popular for patent lawsuits, very few of the Judge's rulings have been subsequently overruled by the court of appeals. In fact, according to wiki, only one has.

It's not really comparable to the civil rights cases which were invariably overturned when they reached higher courts.

It may very well be that Judge Ward is in fact interpreting exist patent law entirely correctly, or at least plausibly, and that the fault lies not with him but with the law as it is currently framed.
post #83 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

The problem is that despite the outlying plaintiff:defendant win ratio, and despite the fact that this court is extremely popular for patent lawsuits, very few of the Judge's rulings have been subsequently overruled by the court of appeals. In fact, according to wiki, only one has.

I hadn't heard that, that's interesting. However, the circuit court did find him to be abusing discretion in denying transfer of venue to an astonishing degree:

http://www.setexasrecord.com/argumen...atent-transfer

Lax venue requirements and a strong resistance to venue correction should be viewed suspiciously.

Quote:
It may very well be that Judge Ward is in fact interpreting exist patent law entirely correctly, or at least plausibly, and that the fault lies not with him but with the law as it is currently framed.

The concern about venue shopping is still real, and I think the problem should be fixed. It's one that probably doesn't require a major overhaul of anything either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

As we can see here, some would stick a bomb under any court that returns a verdict that they don't like for some reason. It doesn't even have to be a good reason.

I think I should make it clear that those comments aren't defensible, and I wasn't defending them. I thought pretty sure that someone had repudiated those comments pretty clearly.

Quote:
This, to my mind, is a much bigger issue than a court that seems to be friendly to patent holders.

Real-world, I think the court is a bigger problem. People that say stupid and indefensible stuff on the internet are a dime a million. People say stuff like that all the time, only one in a million are serious comments.
post #84 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The concern about venue shopping is still real, and I think the problem should be fixed. It's one that probably doesn't require a major overhaul of anything either.

Ok, so say we stop venue shopping, how do we do that? How would you determine the venue?
post #85 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Ok, so say we stop venue shopping, how do we do that? How would you determine the venue?

I would think that increasing the "presence" requirement to mean something more than a PO box or a rented office solely for the sake of qualifying to file in a given district. For instance, the "presence" used by one complainant to file against Microsoft was a fictional subsidiary incorporated in Texas just for the sake of being able to file in that district, merely 16 days before filing:

http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/jurisdiction/

I would think that restricting presence to the district where the US headquarters of either the plaintiff or defendant would do a lot. Even if that is a crude simplification, it would be a worthy starting point.

It's possible that this has been addressed already, earlier this year, regarding the same case:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-federa...t/1551804.html
Quote:
Allvoice nevertheless urges that this case is distinguishable from Genentech. Allvoice contends that unlike the plaintiff in that case, it has an established presence in the Eastern District of Texas. Allvoice's argument, however, rests on a fallacious assumption: that this court must honor connections to a preferred forum made in anticipation of litigation and for the likely purpose of making that forum appear convenient.
post #86 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I would think that restricting presence to the district where the US headquarters of either the plaintiff or defendant would do a lot. Even if that is a crude simplification, it would be a worthy starting point.

It sounds good but I fear you've just kicked the can down the road. It would be pretty easy for any firm to move all their patents into a dedicated subsidiary that was based in East Texas, and hire a few permanent lawyers to staff it there. It would raise the cost of trolling, but not tremendously so. The most egregious trolls have no actual business, so moving the entire firm to East Texas wouldn't be too much hassle.

Corporate structures are trivially easy to move, which is why Delaware is such a corporate powerhouse

I'm not quite sure what the relevance of the second link is supposed to be? I think you might have meant a different link? That one is about drainage districts.
post #87 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I'm not quite sure what the relevance of the second link is supposed to be? I think you might have meant a different link? That one is about drainage districts.

I pasted the wrong link. Post corrected, but here is it again:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-federa...t/1551804.html
post #88 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

It sounds good but I fear you've just kicked the can down the road. It would be pretty easy for any firm to move all their patents into a dedicated subsidiary that was based in East Texas, and hire a few permanent lawyers to staff it there. It would raise the cost of trolling, but not tremendously so. The most egregious trolls have no actual business, so moving the entire firm to East Texas wouldn't be too much hassle.

Maybe, but it would be a telltale sign if you relocate your "headquarters" a month before you file your suit, which would not be hard to discover. Then you lose your Delaware tax privileges.

I can see your point on the subsidiary though, it would require more planning and more waiting, but not prohibitively so.
post #89 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I pasted the wrong link. Post corrected, but here is it again:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-federa...t/1551804.html

That's promising then, it seems CAFC is on the issue. But this precedent at least would only help firms with substantial US presence. Suppose I wrote some software and sold it on the App Store. Since I'm not incorporated in the US neither of those precedents would apply, and the Court of East Texas could have its wicked way with me.

To my mind the real problem is the requirement that the patent not be 'obvious' is no longer meaningfully enforced, because the people enforcing it don't understand the problem domain well enough to know what is and isn't obvious. Ideally there should be a cheap way for a defendant to bring a patent up for review before a panel of people who actually understand the industry - but then you have a serious problem of 'panel selection', so I guess I'm just kicking the can down the road myself.
post #90 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

It seems to me one sensible patent reform would be to outlaw the monetization of patents per se--selling them to holding companies who have no creative or productive interest in them. A patent could be sold to someone who is employing it for its intended use, but not to package it as a Wall Street investment "instrument." A "use it or lose it" law would be a good adjunct to this: even someone who does buy it for its intended purpose would have to employ it within a stipulated time. If not, the patent becomes null and void.

Editorial: Deregulation in favor of "self-policing" has allowed Wall Street, once a respected and conservative custodian of a nation's wealth, to become a playground for con men and schemers.

Terrible idea. First of all, you own the patent, and you are allowed to sell it. That means someone is allowed to buy it. Nothing wrong with that.

The problem with most patents is that often they are not used. But why? Many times the inventor can't get the funding, and can't persuade others to manufacturer it. Then what? It sits, giving the inventor no benefit. Then a company comes around and buys it. The inventor gets paid.

Later, someone else does decide to produce a product that contains the patented concept. So you are saying that they should be allowed to do so without paying? I don't think so!

The stipulated time is whatever is left of the twenty years the patent is good for.
post #91 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

That's a real stretch where software patents are concerned, the fact is that copyright provided enough protection for software for decades - the extension of the use of patents to software and business practices hasn't empowered innovation, quite the opposite.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a professional programmer who thinks that software patents drive innovation in the software industry, except possibly in a very few areas like cryptography.

When you say decades are implying a lot of decades - or more than just one or two? Because...

The first software was copyrighted in November of 1961, twenty years later in May of 1981 was when Satya Pal Asija fought and won his software patent in the US.

IF you believe everything you read in Wikipedia (not saying I do necessarily), it was even earlier - they claim that a software patent was applied for and approved in 1962 in the UK. In the US it was since the 70s. SO I guess I questions the "for decades" assertion here unless you meant by implication that decades only meant to imply "a long time" - say the intervening months between 1961 first software copyright and 1962 first (claimed) software patent.
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post #92 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The entire premise of patents is that someone who comes up with something useful should be able to benefit from their invention. Without patents, innovation would be severely stifled. In particular, small companies would have no incentive to invent anything - because a larger company could just come in and commercialize their invention and wipe the floor with them due to greater resources.

But the opposite is happening. These patent trolls don't commercialize their inventions. They don't take on the risks of developing a product and bringing it to market. Other companies like Apple do all of the hard work and assume all of the risks, while the patent holder sits back waiting for their payday. If the product fails, the patent troll doesn't lose a dime. If the product is successful, the patent troll files a lawsuit in East Texas, claiming "damages."

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post #93 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post

The first software was copyrighted in November of 1961, twenty years later in May of 1981 was when Satya Pal Asija fought and won his software patent in the US.

I can't think of a software patent that was as broad, obvious and dumb as 1-click being relevant pre 1990. There were significant software patents before then, such as the LZW patent, but they were easy to avoid - one could simply use a slightly different compression algorithm for example. The LZW patent itself didn't really start to bite till the 90s when it caused problems with GIFs, and while irksome it was certainly a valid patent.

The 90s were a Software Patent goldrush - where we saw idiocy such as

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=5253341

which essentially attempted to retrospectively patent the WWW, and was only finally invalidated in 2008. So I would argue that from the dawn of computer software in the late 50s until the early 90s, all but a handful of algorithms were protected, when protection was necessary, with copyright.
post #94 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

Back then, one couldn't patent ideas. One had to have something that worked first.




It used to be that patents had to be something innovative, and couldn't be intuitively obviously.




Well, the problem with patenting cars that run on sewer water is the patent does you no good unless someone can realize the idea. Fortunately, patents don't last forever, so there's not an infinite window of opportunity for the trolls.

But i agree. Patents shouldn't be issued for ideas. You used to have to have something to show.



Um, it was more than "some descriptions of a fence construction." Try: Lifting the plot & main character, and over 80 whole passages (from The African, by Harold Courlander.)




Unless, of course, the defendant can counter-sue.




Unfortunately, it would also limit those with legitimate claims. So it's not a perfect solution. But i agree the system, as it is, is broken.

You still can't patent ideas. Laymen don't understand patents, so they seem to think that you can patent ideas, and things that are obvious. You can't. That doesn't mean that from time to time something doesn't slip through the system. The patent examiners are overworked, and sometimes miss things. That's why patents can be challenged, and others can ask that a patent be re-examined. And this does happen. So to a certain extent, the system is self correcting.

But anyone who expects the system to be perfect is simply asking too much.
post #95 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by dru View Post

It's about to get worse if President Obama gets the "patent reform" bill he keeps demanding. Right now we have a "first to invent" system meaning if you can prove you invented something first, you get the patent.

Under the proposal, it'll change to "first to file." This will favor large companies with deep pockets able to file early and often. Small businesses, entrepreneurs and start ups will be harmed. Just yesterday he claimed it'll create jobs.

Big companies already file and amend and amend and amend again as a way to block competitors and extend the effective term of a patent.

Everywhere else in the world, it's a file first system. We're the only one's who don't use that system. So it's been demanded of us that we conform to what everyone else does. No matter who is in office, we would have given in to this. If we could have gotten everyone else to do it our way, then that would have been better, as I prefer it as well. But it is what it is. It's needed to have things everywhere work the same way.
post #96 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Contrary to popular belief, Apple doesnt have "$60 billion in cash reserves" They have total securities asset that is equivalent to $60 billion.

Their real cash/cash equivalent ( any assets that can be converted to cash within one period or one year, whichever is longer) is only around $15 billion.



http://www.asymco.com/2011/04/26/2895/#idc-cover

Sorry, but no. That what the term "marketable securities" means.
post #97 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


Are you saying that the only way the "little guy" can make money on a patent is to become a patent troll?

Sometimes that's the case, but it wouldn't be trolling.
post #98 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The problem with most patents is that often they are not used. But why? Many times the inventor can't get the funding, and can't persuade others to manufacturer it. Then what? It sits, giving the inventor no benefit. Then a company comes around and buys it. The inventor gets paid.

No, most of these software patents weren't created with the intent of making a product, they were created as an intellectual land grab. It's far easier to make a software product than it is to patent one, if you're a programmer.
post #99 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

That's promising then, it seems CAFC is on the issue. But this precedent at least would only help firms with substantial US presence. Suppose I wrote some software and sold it on the App Store. Since I'm not incorporated in the US neither of those precedents would apply, and the Court of East Texas could have its wicked way with me.

To my mind the real problem is the requirement that the patent not be 'obvious' is no longer meaningfully enforced, because the people enforcing it don't understand the problem domain well enough to know what is and isn't obvious. Ideally there should be a cheap way for a defendant to bring a patent up for review before a panel of people who actually understand the industry - but then you have a serious problem of 'panel selection', so I guess I'm just kicking the can down the road myself.

Both by the Supreme Court and Congress, the concept of obviousness has been tightened up considerably.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/n...-to-defend.ars

This is a synopsis of the current bill. You'll notice the tightening up of the obviousness requirement.

http://www.mchaleslavin.com/Articles...GHCONGRESS.htm
post #100 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

But the opposite is happening. These patent trolls don't commercialize their inventions. They don't take on the risks of developing a product and bringing it to market. Other companies like Apple do all of the hard work and assume all of the risks, while the patent holder sits back waiting for their payday. If the product fails, the patent troll doesn't lose a dime. If the product is successful, the patent troll files a lawsuit in East Texas, claiming "damages."

The vast number of patents are NOT owned by trolls. The rare situation of a troll suing doesn't affect inventiveness at all, even though it's annoying.

Besides, the entire point of patents is to FORCE others to find other ways of doing something. That's where innovation comes from. It doesn't necessarily come from any one patent being used or not.

In this sense, even a lawsuit from a troll aids innovation. If a company doesn't want to pay them, let them find another way of doing it, that's the entire point.

If they don't want to, or that can't, well, then the patent has value, doesn't it? It really doesn't matter who licenses it. What's the difference if IBM invents a portfolio of patents, and then decides that it's not where they want to go,and they don't want to bother licensing them, and so sells that portfolio to another company? Nothing! IBM gets some value from their inventions, and others can license them from whomever bought them instead of IBM. No difference.

But, of course, IBM is the largest patent winner, and does license out most, but not all of them.
post #101 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

No, most of these software patents weren't created with the intent of making a product, they were created as an intellectual land grab. It's far easier to make a software product than it is to patent one, if you're a programmer.

Gee. Too bad, other than for this, we actually agree on everything else here.

You would have to prove that statement, and it will be an awfully difficult one to prove.
post #102 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Both by the Supreme Court and Congress, the concept of obviousness has been tightened up considerably.
...

This is a synopsis of the current bill. You'll notice the tightening up of the obviousness requirement.

I'm not convinced it's really enough, the problem is that obviousness in this context will end up being determined by battling expert witnesses. There's no way a judge or a jury could determine obvoiusness.

Back in my youth I wrote a data structure that mapped an N-dimensional array of group elements (where N, and the group was selectable at runtime) onto an N-toroid in such a way that if you had a had a point in the array you could reach an adjacent point in constant time. It's entirely possible that I could get a patent on that, even though it is in fact nothing more than an N-dimensionally linked list of objects with a subroutine to initialize it.

It might seem non-obvious because it's obscure, but any other decent computer scientist who found himself trying to write an N-dimensional lattice gauge Monte Carlo simulation would likely come up with it too.

Programmers are all inventors, to a greater or lessor degree, and we all invariably end up treading on previously covered ground. There are probably no more than a handful of ideas a year that truly deserve a software patent.
post #103 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

A court shouldn't be friendly or unfriendly to anyone. It should be neutral. I think Jeff's point about legal "tourism" is a valid one. The article points out that as Marshall TX is such a small town, that everyone knows everyone--that the juries know the local lawyers and the judge knows them all. This kind of single-industry driven burg can be very incestuous and creates a real impediment to blind justice. It strongly suggests a high degree of cronyism that results show favors patent holders.

Quotes like this from the NYT article:

". . . patent holders win 78 percent of the time, compared with an average of 59 percent nationwide, according to LegalMetric, a company that tracks patent litigation."

are a legitimate cause for concern. When results are this badly skewed from the national average, doesn't that bother you at all? Brings back memories of the bad old days of southern justice when civil rights cases were routinely decided against the plaintiff.

In the real world, courts are not perfect. They do not have the same batting average on any number of types of cases.

I am actually surprised by all the hay being made about the difference between a 59% and 78% difference in ruling for plaintiffs. How much should the difference be in order for the results to be considered "neutral" in your opinion? 10%? 5%? 2%? Is this not just a numbers game?

Could it also be that defendants are granted too much opportunity to create delays and obstructions in other federal courts? Could it not be that other courts would rule more favorably for plaintiffs in patent cases if they adopted similar rules of operation? I have no idea, but then neither does anyone else commenting on this article. And yet, the gross assumption is that this particular court is not neutral. The only way I can see of coming to this conclusion absent critical facts is to be biased against plaintiffs in patent cases. And very clearly, a lot of people commenting in this thread are very much biased in that direction.
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post #104 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You would have to prove that statement, and it will be an awfully difficult one to prove.

Why would I have to prove anything? Legally it makes no difference whether a patent was created in order to make a product or simply to troll. Intent isn't part of patent law.

Politically proof is obviously irrelevant because what will matter is lobbying. For as long as software patents remain popular with big industry players they will continue to exist in pretty much their present form.

But the second part of my statement is pretty obvious. Look at the vast amount of public domain software, not just modern open-source but old school PD too. Then compare it with the relatively small number of patents. It's far easier for a coder to make a program than a patent, otherwise we'd be patent lawyers.

Genuine programmers just write code, else Visicalc would have been patented.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/200...835229_F.shtml
post #105 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I'm not convinced it's really enough, the problem is that obviousness in this context will end up being determined by battling expert witnesses. There's no way a judge or a jury could determine obvoiusness.

Back in my youth I wrote a data structure that mapped an N-dimensional array of group elements (where N, and the group was selectable at runtime) onto an N-toroid in such a way that if you had a had a point in the array you could reach an adjacent point in constant time. It's entirely possible that I could get a patent on that, even though it is in fact nothing more than an N-dimensionally linked list of objects with a subroutine to initialize it.

It might seem non-obvious because it's obscure, but any other decent computer scientist who found himself trying to write an N-dimensional lattice gauge Monte Carlo simulation would likely come up with it too.

Programmers are all inventors, to a greater or lessor degree, and we all invariably end up treading on previously covered ground. There are probably no more than a handful of ideas a year that truly deserve a software patent.

The term for obviousness includes the part which refers to the competent worker in that field. They don't mean obvious by a 6th grade graduate. In your case, it would mean anyone who could, and might figure it out for themselves if presented with the problem. And that's another thing most people don't understand about patents. A problem has to be stated for the solution to become obvious, or not, as the case may be.

People don't operate in a vacuum. If a problem isn't present, they won't think of a solution to it. So, as you say, anyone in your position would have come up with this solution. That's not demeaning you, as you've said it yourself.

The problem with the patent office isn't the theory of patentability, but the salaries of the examiners, the budget for them, and thus the number of them. It's a highly overworked office, and so mistakes occur. I know of a few amusing ones myself.
In addition, I know from talking to a few examiners in the course of one of my companies applying for patents that they tend to give the benefit of the doubt in cases where it might go either way. The concept is simple. If a patent is denied, then that's usually it for the entity that applies. But if it's granted, it can always be denied later.
post #106 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Why would I have to prove anything? Legally it makes no difference whether a patent was created in order to make a product or simply to troll. Intent isn't part of patent law.

Politically proof is obviously irrelevant because what will matter is lobbying. For as long as software patents remain popular with big industry players they will continue to exist in pretty much their present form.

But the second part of my statement is pretty obvious. Look at the vast amount of public domain software, not just modern open-source but old school PD too. Then compare it with the relatively small number of patents. It's far easier for a coder to make a program than a patent, otherwise we'd be patent lawyers.

Genuine programmers just write code, else Visicalc would have been patented.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/200...835229_F.shtml

You made the statement. Why make it if it doesn't matter, or isn't germaine?

I agree that intent isn't part of patent law. Your statement read as though you thought it was. As you're stating that it isn't, we can forget about it.
post #107 of 129
If it's too difficult to establish "residency" for the purpose of assigning docket, then assign cases by rotation and/or randomized selection--much the way cases are assigned to judges within a court. Might be a bummer for some company that lives right next door to their local District Court to have to travel across the country. But it is simpler than trying to close every loophole to district shopping. Besides, at present plaintiffs don't seem to mind traveling all the way to Texas.
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post #108 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I am actually surprised by all the hay being made about the difference between a 59% and 78% difference in ruling for plaintiffs. How much should the difference be in order for the results to be considered "neutral" in your opinion? 10%? 5%? 2%? Is this not just a numbers game?

There is a national average, and being nearly 20 points off of it is pretty significant statistically I would think. It certainly isn't a numbers game, but your point seems to be playing into it.

Rather than trying to fix on a number, it might be more productive to take a common sense approach. If it walk like a duck, etc. (On the other hand a good lawyer could convince a jury that a duck is not actually a duck by distracting their attention from the obvious to myriad details.)
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post #109 of 129
Do the juries and judges in the East Texas courts get a cut of the money awarded? It sounds like they always rule in favor of the people filing the suit and being awarded damages. Maybe it's done in secret? What would be the percentage you have to pay for a successful lawsuit? 1% 3%??
post #110 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You made the statement. Why make it if it doesn't matter, or isn't germaine?

I made a statement you said I needed to prove it, I simply pointed out that I had absolutely no need to prove it, it could stand in this discussion simply as opinion. One could just as easily say that if you disagree with it you must disprove it, or prove your own claim that these patent holders are mostly inventors who were unable to bring their product to market, despite their pockets being deep enough to both patent their idea and sue to enforce it.

Can you prove

Quote:
The problem with the patent office isn't the theory of patentability, but the salaries of the examiners

Since many egregious patents stand up in court it clearly isn't just a problem of patent office salaries.

Can you prove

Quote:
In this sense, even a lawsuit from a troll aids innovation. If a company doesn't want to pay them, let them find another way of doing it, that's the entire point.

(Good luck with that one)

You make statements that you cannot prove all the time, are they not germaine? Do they not matter? Would you like me to demand proof everytime you make one in future? I strongly suggest you drop this line because it isn't going to go well for you.

Oh and the idea that a troll aids innovation is completely ridiculous on many levels.
  1. The troll has patented the most natural way to accomplish something, often at a UI level. Unnatural UIs aren't innovative, they're generally just bad.
  2. If you're trolled then you're already being held as infringing, so unless you're big enough to fight you're going to have to pay up - for small software firms that is likely to be a painful, perhaps fatal experience - not conducive to innovation.
  3. If you attempt to subsequently avoid the patent but you are a small firm, the troll can still sue again, and you don't have the money to fight them, so you'll pay again. The only way to avoid the troll is to write a completely new piece of software in a new problem domain, which may have patent issues of its own.
post #111 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

I'd live happily on 1/10th of 1/10th of that payout. Truly amazing how patent trolls get away with this.

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Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

$80k is enough to sustain your happiness forever? You're indeed a simple man. Good for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

You reckon 1/10th of $8,000,000 is "$80k" do you?

As for your username...

AppleInsider at its finest
post #112 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

There is a national average, and being nearly 20 points off of it is pretty significant statistically I would think. It certainly isn't a numbers game, but your point seems to be playing into it.

Rather than trying to fix on a number, it might be more productive to take a common sense approach. If it walk like a duck, etc. (On the other hand a good lawyer could convince a jury that a duck is not actually a duck by distracting their attention from the obvious to myriad details.)

Sorry, but I don't see this as a "common sense" conclusion. I see it as being informed mainly by bias, if only because the important questions I have posed cannot be answered factually by anyone. Sadly we see the pitchforks and torches come out in every thread where Apple is found defending itself against a patent lawsuit (but rarely when they are the plaintiffs). The mob tells us that the owners of the patents are trolls, the patents they hold worthless or invalid, the patent laws ridiculous, and the courts crazy if not corrupt.
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post #113 of 129
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post #114 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Not surprising, given that corporations spend far more on lobbying than individuals to.

The US is not a democracy, but a republic. This is by design.

A republic which gives corporations the same rights as citizens is becoming an oligarchy.
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post #115 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Sadly we see the pitchforks and torches come out in every thread where Apple is found defending itself against a patent lawsuit (but rarely when they are the plaintiffs). The mob tells us that the owners of the patents are trolls, the patents they hold worthless or invalid, the patent laws ridiculous, and the courts crazy if not corrupt.

Have you read this particular patent? Do you consider it non-obvious? Do you have any understanding of the problem domain? What is your background here? Personally I'd be quite happy if all software patents were invalidated, including those held by Apple. This isn't about choosing sides, this is about supporting innovation. I don't dispute that Patents are critical for other industries, but the golden years of software development took place in a mostly patent free environment.
post #116 of 129
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Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

A republic which gives corporations the same rights as citizens is becoming an oligarchy.

In the City of London corporations can even vote albeit only at the local government level.
post #117 of 129
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Sorry, but I don't see this as a "common sense" conclusion. I see it as being informed mainly by bias, if only because the important questions I have posed cannot be answered factually by anyone. Sadly we see the pitchforks and torches come out in every thread where Apple is found defending itself against a patent lawsuit (but rarely when they are the plaintiffs). The mob tells us that the owners of the patents are trolls, the patents they hold worthless or invalid, the patent laws ridiculous, and the courts crazy if not corrupt.

I agree with your basic argument. But it troubles me that you seem to be saying that a 20% difference is insignificant, and no cause for concern. The common sense conclusion I cited was not a judgement on the entire issue, but merely on a kind of reductionism you were using to dismiss the significance of what most would agree is a big number.

If the national unemployment average is 9%, but in California it is 29%, a difference of 20%, would you argue that California really doesn't have a problem because no one knows how much of a difference is really significant? Just seems a bit specious to me. That's all.
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post #118 of 129
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Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

In the City of London corporations can even vote albeit only at the local government level.

Didn't know that. Seems to me the U.S. once broke away from England over differences in governing.
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post #119 of 129
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Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Didn't know that. Seems to me the U.S. once broke away from England over differences in governing.

It's only in 'the square mile'. Medieval guild privileges still exist there.
post #120 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Have you read this particular patent? Do you consider it non-obvious? Do you have any understanding of the problem domain? What is your background here? Personally I'd be quite happy if all software patents were invalidated, including those held by Apple. This isn't about choosing sides, this is about supporting innovation. I don't dispute that Patents are critical for other industries, but the golden years of software development took place in a mostly patent free environment.

My background here is not as a patent attorney or a patent expert of any kind. Does anyone commenting here have those levels of expertise and is holding out on us? Note that I have not offered any opinion with respect to the validity of any given patent because I lack the background or knowledge to make any such judgment. I see that others are not similarly constrained, and further feel that they can out of hand dismiss if not condemn a legal process about which they also have little knowledge or expertise. Perhaps this only troubles me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

I agree with your basic argument. But it troubles me that you seem to be saying that a 20% difference is insignificant, and no cause for concern. The common sense conclusion I cited was not a judgement on the entire issue, but merely on a kind of reductionism you were using to dismiss the significance of what most would agree is a big number.

If the national unemployment average is 9%, but in California it is 29%, a difference of 20%, would you argue that California really doesn't have a problem because no one knows how much of a difference is really significant? Just seems a bit specious to me. That's all.

Your analogy is specious, since it has nothing to do with the legal system and is not comparative. Without doing a ton of research, to my point I was able to find the following summary of a paper:

Quote:
Average annual conviction rates (19902000) of people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in each of New Mexico's 33 counties are described. Conviction rates vary from 58 to 95%. Rates are correlated with political conservatism, being higher where a higher proportion of voters voted for the republican presidential candidates, and with measures of crowding in the courts. Conviction rates are higher in rural than urban areas and are correlated with a low prevalence of alcohol-related problems in the population. The variance in conviction rates is higher in rural than urban areas, and higher where measures of court crowding are low.
The results suggest that political culture and the efficiency of court functioning are each independently associated with conviction rates for DWI and may also be associated in a reciprocal fashion with both low DWI arrest rates and alcohol-involved crash rates.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...01457505002071

The justice system was not designed to be a machine. Variability does not in itself support a charge of unfairness. In fact I pointed out the alternate case for the variability in this instance, to which nobody has responded.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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