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laserlight
05-27-2008, 07:10 AM
I just read about this in a local newspaper today, and wondered what you guys think about it: Singapore firm claims patent to image search (http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/internet/0,39044908,62041802,00.htm).


Dubbing itself "pioneers of visual search technology", Vuestar Technologies said it owns the patent to the technology that enables "Internet searching via visual images".

In sum, the company implied that any Web site that uses pictures and graphics to link to another site or Web page will need a license from Vuestar.

"Those who use visual images which hyperlink to other Web pages or Web sites...whether on the first page or subsequent pages of a Web site require a Vuestar 'license of use'," the company said on its site.

If the reports are accurate, it seems that this is yet another example of a brain damaged software patent that points to the systemic flaws of software patenting.

matsp
05-27-2008, 07:19 AM
But isn't there something called "Prior art" in patent-law - so if someone can prove that a site used visual image links prior to the patent application, the patent is invalid?

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Mats

indigo0086
05-27-2008, 07:41 AM
Pantent claims are getting ridiculous these days.

CornedBee
05-27-2008, 08:42 AM
Well, a search for "Vuestar" in the US patent office gives 0 results, although the article reports a claim that the patent was granted in the US.

matsp
05-27-2008, 08:49 AM
Well, a search for "Vuestar" in the US patent office gives 0 results, although the article reports a claim that the patent was granted in the US.

I tried searching in the Singapore IP office, but it didn't have a applicant of Vuestar listed either.

I'd like to see the application - it sounds like there's prior art unless it was granted quite a few years back.

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Mats

matsp
05-27-2008, 09:50 AM
After visiting vuestar's site, I managed to find the patent itself Here (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=%227065520%22&OS=)


Edit: And depending on how you read the text, we can either entirely give up and give all our money to VueStar, or they are in breach by prior art with some other web-databases that I know of.

Further, any forum software using Avatar's is probably in breach (because it uses a database to store the name/link of the avatar)

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Mats

indigo0086
05-27-2008, 10:10 AM
Like I said, laying claim to things that naturally come into play over the course of further claiming it an an ART is silly. There should be some theory clause in these patent laws to lay the foundations for things that are unique IPs and creations and those that are the foundations for other unique IPs and creations.

CornedBee
05-27-2008, 10:51 AM
Well, the FAQ of their website is completely unintelligible.

Their license is interesting. There are various parts that would be quite illegal here in Austria, for example, the clause that by simply using the technology they claim to have patented, I've entered the license agreement with them. This is not possible under Austrian law.

I've also read this interesting patent. If the Singapore version is identical to the US version, then there is one thing it quite definitely doesn't cover: simply image links. It only covers image links that appear as part of some search results.

And I'll still be damned if there isn't some prior art. The patent was filed in 2001. I do not believe that there wasn't some company before that that had both images and text in the search results of their product catalog. (And yes, that would be covered by that patent.)


Anyway, Google's preview of video search results is also in violation, and there's one company that doesn't have to fear legal costs.

indigo0086
05-27-2008, 10:58 AM
Google probably already owns them and they don't know it yet. Then when they sue they'll go bankrupt.

maxorator
05-27-2008, 11:08 AM
I wonder who has the hyperlink patent then...

Mario F.
05-27-2008, 12:54 PM
For instance, a website named Winfiles (which I had as my home page in the early 90s) returned images as part of the search results. Images were being returned along with anchors and text way before 2001 as server side scripting was already a stable technology. Amazon did it, Yahoo did it, barnes & nobles did it, web flower shops did it... and a million other etceteras.

Vuestar claim is also ridiculous as images being returned from a search engine isn't technology, a technological platform or subject to any other kind of patent. It's a direct result of functionality provided by the programming language (HTML).

They can squirm all they want but I would gladly fill a law suit if they so much dared look my way. I've been doing it since ASP 1.0. And can prove it.

SlyMaelstrom
05-27-2008, 01:51 PM
Vuestar claim is also ridiculous as images being returned from a search engine isn't technology, a technological platform or subject to any other kind of patent. It's a direct result of functionality provided by the programming language (HTML)..That's a good point. Perhaps I could go ahead and make a patent on functions that return a boolean value as a result of a string comparison or a function that returns a pointer to a character in a substring function. ^_^