For example, copyright is self-executing. That means that you get a copyright in your program as soon as you write it. In contrast, a patent is obtained only after filing and prosecuting - and in the process spending a lot of money on - a patent application.
Moreover, copyright is supposed to protect a specific expression - not broader ideas found in that expression. One major argument against software patents is, that in order to maintain the lightning pace of software innovation, developers must to be free to use general concepts pioneered by others so long as they don't copy the actual code.
Updated at 11:45 a.m. PDT with Dish Network's statement.
Another court has upheld TiVo's patent suit against EchoStar Communications.
A U.S. Appeals Court on Friday denied EchoStar's appeal on an earlier court ruling that said the company's Dish Network digital video recorders violated a patent held by TiVo. The ruling was first reported by Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection blog.
Friday's appellate court decision comes two years after TiVo's initial victory, in which a court found that EchoStar's DVRs (digital video recorders) "willfully infringed" on TiVo's patented … Read more
Editor's note: This story was updated at 3:25 p.m. PDT to add a response from the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which represents large software, hardware, and Internet companies. ARLINGTON, Va.--A handful of patent lawyers on Friday beat up on large technology companies lobbying for a U.S. patent system revamp, arguing that their efforts could discourage start-ups, prompt foreign competitors to rip off inventions, and tear apart the economy more generally.
There weren't any Silicon Valley interests directly represented during this panel discussion at a conference here hosted by the American Bar Association's intellectual-property … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Jonathan Bari didn't seem too nervous until the $725,000 glitch.
A woman, taking commands from someone at the other end of her cell phone, had bid $750,000 on the patent portfolio he was selling at the Ocean Tomo IP Auction last week in San Francisco. The patents covered an online authentication system for consumers devised by his old company Catavault.
The panic came because auctioneer Charles Ross registered the bid at $725,000.
"She said $750,000," he said to me. (We were sitting next to each other.) He became absolutely still. His anxiety … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Mike Voticky is here because of a bad voice mail experience.
Years ago, Voticky was finishing up a trip from Europe when he decided to check his voice mail.
"I had 24 messages," he said. "I was pissed. I had to go through all of them to get to the last one from my wife."
During the plane ride home, he sketched out a patent for prioritizing messages through a database. He got the patent and is auctioning it off at Ocean Tomo's Spring 2008 IP Auction taking place here today. He thought about … Read more
When a company finds itself in court defending against a patent lawsuit, it will usually assert two major defenses. First, the company will say "I don't practice (or produce) what is claimed in this patent." Second, a defendant in a patent lawsuit will also attempt to "invalidate" the claims of the patent by showing that "prior art" described the claims in the patent prior to the application date of the patent. While this defense can take multiple forms (see, for example, 35 U.S.C. ? 102 ), a defendant must often show that the prior art relied upon was in fact publicly known or publicly used. So now its time for a pop quiz--which one of three options would you consider not being "publicly accessible" for the purposes of United States patent law:
A: The use of a centrifuge in a secure laboratory at the National Institute for Health;
B: The posting of a paper on an unsecured FTP server; or
C: Indexing a dissertation in a paper file and placing it on a shelf...in Germany.
I hate to keep beating this drum, but I read Stephen O'Grady's report on Brad Smith's keynote at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) and thought it was worth highlighting. Stephen isn't prone to exaggeration or zealotry. So when he writes these words, it's worth considering:
Microsoft has a standing annual legal bill, we're told, of ~$100 million dollars to defend itself from patent related litigation. Unless the licensing revenue stream easily eclipses that amount, why is the current system worth defending? Why does Microsoft insist on speaking out in defense of a mechanism that appears, if anything, to negatively impact its shareholders? It seems like a flawed equation.… Read more
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--Open-source and free software fans who despise software patents shouldn't look for an ally in the head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Patent Commissioner Jon Dudas says his office is all about staying "technology neutral," so long as the invention meets certain standards.
"The system we've had has worked to promote technology for 200 years, and it can do that in the software industry, so long as you follow the principles that (a technology) is useful, new, and nonobvious," Dudas said during a wide-ranging interview with CNET News.com … Read more
Intellectual property (IP) companies are unique business entities. Theirs is a complex, controversial world characterized by huge capital investments, epic legal battles, rollercoaster stock rides, fanatical investors, and of course, lots of patents.
Why should you care? Because, their technology helps almost all your gadgets work the way they do. And for that privilege, their executives, employees and investors go through hell.… Read more