What's with IBM suing Amazon?

This is a discussion on What's with IBM suing Amazon? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; You all heard about this, I assume? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10...versus_amazon/ They've had these patents for something like 8 years and never once ...

  1. #1
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    What's with IBM suing Amazon?

    You all heard about this, I assume?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10...versus_amazon/

    They've had these patents for something like 8 years and never once followed up on them... I'm pretty sure that doesn't fit with the requirement to actively protect your patent.
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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    I can only hope they fail completely and all of these patents get invalidated. I mean, have you looked at them???

    * US 5,796,967 - Presenting Applications in an Interactive Service.

    The title says absolutely nothing, but it sounds like it could be applied to every other web page.

    * US 5,442,771 - Storing Data in an Interactive Network.

    Like, what the ...?

    * US 7,072,849 - Presenting Advertising in an Interactive Service.

    Oh yeah, another cover-all.

    * US 5,446,891 - Adjusting Hypertext Links with Weighted User Goals and Activities.

    That's the only one that's not universally applicable, but still very widely. Every place that gathers information on the user and then adjusts itself to that information is in violation. Hell, even having a "skip to content" link and hiding it if the layout is properly displayed sounds like it could violate this patent.

    * US 5,319,542 - Ordering Items Using an Electronic Catalogue.

    It's so sad that this is even patentable.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

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    Ethernal Noob
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    I assume companies hire their own "patent trolls".

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    > Ordering Items Using an Electronic Catalogue.
    See, stuff like this makes the USPO a joke over here. How exactly would this be different from using a paper catalogue?

    What's next, "paying for items using money", "paying for items using a credit card".
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salem
    What's next, "paying for items using money", "paying for items using a credit card".
    Oh Salem, now you're just being silly. The next one would be "paying for items with electronic money".

    Having a pretty good understanding of the patent process and the twisted thinking that a patent lawyer does while dreaming up claims, I'm completely disillusioned with the patent system. It was probably a good idea, but there are some serious issues with the current implementation.
    If I did your homework for you, then you might pass your class without learning how to write a program like this. Then you might graduate and get your degree without learning how to write a program like this. You might become a professional programmer without knowing how to write a program like this. Someday you might work on a project with me without knowing how to write a program like this. Then I would have to do you serious bodily harm. - Jack Klein

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    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    Wait till breathing is patented!
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    So let me get this straight. IBM patents a technology, doesn't use it, someone else gets an idea similar to theirs and makes billions and now IBM wants to sue because they dropped the ball on their own technology?

    Sounds just like IBM. They dropped the ball on the PC, dropped the ball on operating systems, and now dropped the ball on commerce. It's amazing they are still in the game dropping the ball as much as they do.

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    Registered User Frobozz's Avatar
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    Well considering IBM has failed at so many things, these patents are probably all they've got left to make any real money. Like Bubba mentioned, they tried to dominate the PC market. Remember when everyone started cloning the PC for less and they tried to introduce a completely different PC as standard? A total flop. This will likely be the same way.

    And concerning the patent system, yes its completely stupid. Especially since big companies like IBM have patents covering everything. They'd have patented patents if they could have gotten away with it.

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    > dropping the ball as much as they do.
    Maybe it's patented by the arizona cardinals

    Patents should be exploited by the original inventor within a certain time period. If they fail to do this then they should lapse within a couple of years. Otherwise it's just like laying a huge bunch of bear traps over the technology playing field hoping that a few will catch something big and you can cash in without having to do an awful lot of work yourself.

    They're all just lawyer food as far as I can make out.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
    I support http://www.ukip.org/ as the first necessary step to a free Europe.

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    Registered User Frobozz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom
    They've had these patents for something like 8 years and never once followed up on them
    The best reason I can think for this is that either they forgot they had them, which isn't likely, or they simply felt that existing companies weren't big enough or rich enough to try to exploit for money. Google could have worked, but wouldn't fall under as many patents.

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    I don't see the point this will just hurt IBM's image with the consumer. If I were a large company I wouldn't go near them for fear of being sued.

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    Registered User Frobozz's Avatar
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    IBM doesn't particularly care about image. They're mostly concerned with making money and dominating the market. As for the consumer, the average person doesn't purchase anything made by IBM.

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    Don't patents run out after a certain period of time? I know that's what happened with the Colt revolver(after 12 years or so, the patent ran out and everybody else started making revolvers, but the name Colt was out there as the best already).

    I'm sure they were just waiting for somebody to get rich enough to be able to sue them properly, and seeing as who their patents are probably going to run out soon... now's the time

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by System_159
    Don't patents run out after a certain period of time? I know that's what happened with the Colt revolver(after 12 years or so, the patent ran out and everybody else started making revolvers, but the name Colt was out there as the best already).

    I'm sure they were just waiting for somebody to get rich enough to be able to sue them properly, and seeing as who their patents are probably going to run out soon... now's the time
    The way I understand it, the Patent Office requires a certain amount of protection for your patents in order to maintain them. If I patented the exclusive right to manufacture and sell USB flash drives 12 years ago, I now wouldn't be too successful in attempting to sue Intel (Who I believe founded the standard) simply because I haven't been protecting it for those 12 years.

    I feel like that's where this case is likely to go... especially if you notice, after doing a little searching, that Amazon also has patents protecting their service.
    Sent from my iPadŽ

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    Crazy Fool Perspective's Avatar
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    >because I haven't been protecting it for those 12 years.
    >I feel like that's where this case is likely to go

    IBM claims that others have been paying for the right to use those patents all along, so it's not that they've been dormant and they just brought it up now. If other's pay and Amazon refuses to even discuss the issue (as IBM claims) than IBM has a right to sue under the stupidity that is e-patents.

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