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  1. #26
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Patent laws were designed for physical things, basically. They weren't designed for software techniques (or genes... but that's another rant).

    On the specific topic... they'd have to take me to court before I'd shell out a time. It's rather ridiculous. The terminology in the patent is so general, it could probably be overturned on that basis (patents are supposed to be very specific).

  2. #27
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NetNerd85 View Post
    Anyone know why Patents even exist? I can find no good reason.
    The idea of a patent is that it protects your rights to the product for long enough for you to go from the idea to the finished product and get it on sale. Basically it is supposed to prevent someone else from being able to copy your idea and beat you to market with the product so that you end up not benefitting from the idea. The patent is supposed to protect for long enough for you to recover your development costs and get your product established before others are allowed to start producing copies. The patent needs to be extremely specific as to how the idea is supposed to work because it is not supposed to prevent others from coming up with alternative ways to achieve the same result.

    It is when you start allowing things that do not relate to newly invented physical products - such as software and genes) that the entire concept breaks down since in those instances there is nothing physical to be developed that needs to be protected during the development process. Also where a patent is too vague as to exactly what it covers then it also becomes meaningless.

    It is the morons working in certain patent offices who allow patents on things that are way outside the scope of what patents are intended for that are destroying the entire concept. Only by getting rid of all the junk patents can those that are actually meaningful be properly applied.

    Another thing with the patent that this thread is discussing is that the patent was issued so long ago that it must surely have expired by now.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  3. #28
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Actually, felgall is right. Unless there is some extension, this patent expired like 8 months ago (20 years the length of a patent and it was filed 2/1990).

    I hope this backfires in this company's face and they disappear.

  4. #29
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    The problem really liens int he fact that the boundary of what defines an idea has "culturally"( I hope that's the correct term) gotten lost.

    I was at a party a few years ago. Another guest started talking about ( I can't remember what it was specifically so I will just say it was this..) how there need to be away of moving a carriage about town w/o having to worry about horses .. if there were carriages that propelled themselves life would be easier and we wouldn't have to deal with so much horse manure. at this moment ( and I do remember this clearly) a couple of the other guests got really excited, said how that was a brilliant and idea and how she should go out an "get a patent on" it so that no one else could steal it and how she could make tons off money off of "that idea"... True story.

    As you can see, people often confuse the intrinsic perception of a need or a mere desire for a solution for the actual solution. this was made all the more ironic when it is said by someone with no actual technical knowledge on the subject ( whatever the subject is) or way to produce a prototype.

    For the rest you can blame lawyers.

  5. #30
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dresden_phoenix View Post
    As you can see, people often confuse the intrinsic perception of a need or a mere desire for a solution for the actual solution. this was made all the more ironic when it is said by someone with no actual technical knowledge on the subject ( whatever the subject is) or way to produce a prototype.
    My understanding is that in many countries a patent is pending until such time as a working protptype is produced and if a working prototype can't be produced then the patent lapses. It is only in countries that don't have that requirement where patents can be abused.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  6. #31
    Floridiot joebert's Avatar
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    So, what are the chances of this having an impact on the Internet similar to the patent that forced everyone but Microsoft (since they purchased a license) to force users to click Flash objects before they could interact with them ?

    I don't understand why they're going after individual websites. I'd be going after browser makers if I were them.

  7. #32
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Because all they need is one stupid Muppet to unnecessarily pay up and they'll probably be laughing all the way to the bank.

  8. #33
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by joebert View Post
    So, what are the chances of this having an impact on the Internet similar to the patent that forced everyone but Microsoft (since they purchased a license) to force users to click Flash objects before they could interact with them ?

    I don't understand why they're going after individual websites. I'd be going after browser makers if I were them.
    Actually you got that backwards... That was the Eolas patent and Microsoft IE was the only one who got hit by it. As I recall it was related to how IE activates Flash via Activex. At any rate I think they were hit with $500 Million in damages after the dust settled. IE was the only browser I recall that you had to click to get Flash to work on if you didn't include the Javascript workaround.

    Anyway, this patent isn't about the browser.... It's about information systems and a form of hierarchical menus that the holder of the patent is targeting website's with.

    That said, I doubt this patent will even see the light of day in court as it's so vague anyone who is using a computer to access information would be infringing on it.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  9. #34
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awasson View Post
    Anyway, this patent isn't about the browser.... It's about information systems and a form of hierarchical menus that the holder of the patent is targeting website's with.
    I disagree. It is the browsers that are the ones who are breaching the patent if anyone is. If the browsers didn't support the necessary JavaScript and CSS commands that are aledgedly breaching the patent then no web page would be able to implement those features. All the web pages are doing is using the features available in the browser. If the patent holder wants to take action over a breach of their patent then the browsers are the ones they should be taking action against.

    An obvious course of action for anyone threatened with a breach of a patent is to ask to have an independent third party do a comparison between their implementation and the prototype that forms the basis for the patent in order to determine whether they are similar enough in the way they work for there to be an issue. Of course most patent holders refuse such a request because they know that any such comparison will show that they are different enough for the patent to not apply.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  10. #35
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Prototype... For that patent... That's a good one

    I still say the browser is safe because without the HTML/CSS/JavaScript formed as a the web page, there are no menus, or system to infringe. An empty browser has nothing to show.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  11. #36
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Yeah, it wouldn't be the browser. They implement a set of things. What you do with them is up to you. For example, you could say implementing :hover violates the patent, but there are many things you can do with :hover that don't.

    It's almost like saying that since you could implement something in C++ that is patented, it's C++'s fault.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by samanime View Post
    Yeah, it wouldn't be the browser. They implement a set of things. What you do with them is up to you. For example, you could say implementing :hover violates the patent, but there are many things you can do with :hover that don't.

    It's almost like saying that since you could implement something in C++ that is patented, it's C++'s fault.

    [EDIT]: That's exactly what I was thinking. Following that logic, they may as well target anything that relates to making a computer actually work.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  13. #38
    SitePoint Member chinalimit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USPatriot View Post
    Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
    A: His lips are moving.

    Nothing worse then a lawyer.
    Not a joke, it's a fact.

    I also doubt whether it's legal.

  14. #39
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    Well the problem is any one can FILE a CLAIM for a patent. When people start to confuse a DESIRE with an IDEA, at the very least it can catastrophically clog the system.

    This a technical forum 99&#37; of us can tell the difference. Even in an artistic forum most people will be able to understand the TRUE concept of intellectual property. But both disciplines combine still only make up a sliver of the general pop. A population that has started confusing a desire or need with a solution. which is what I was trying to say earlier.

    The people in my example would claim they invented the car, even though they knew nothing of physics, chemistry or mechanics.. because they felt there should be carriages with out horses.. way before Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. (who technically only invented an IMPROVED coach utilizing gasoline).

    ON a funny note, to support my argument. Look at the ad campaign for Windows 7. "Windows 7 was my idea" Yes, it's just a marketing campaign, but marketing campaigns often reflect a cultural wave.

  15. #40
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dresden_phoenix View Post
    ON a funny note, to support my argument. Look at the ad campaign for Windows 7. "Windows 7 was my idea" Yes, it's just a marketing campaign, but marketing campaigns often reflect a cultural wave.
    I wonder when all those people will start demanding their cut of MS revenue since after all Win7 was their idea
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  16. #41
    SitePoint Wizard siteguru's Avatar
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    But don't they also say "I'm a PC"? If so then a PC is an object and so not eligible for royalties.
    Ian Anderson
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  17. #42
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    Michael Morris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    I disagree. It is the browsers that are the ones who are breaching the patent if anyone is. If the browsers didn't support the necessary JavaScript and CSS commands that are aledgedly breaching the patent then no web page would be able to implement those features.
    Why stop there? Hold the makers of C++ responsible for the breach, as their code makes the browser possible.

  18. #43
    Floridiot joebert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awasson View Post
    Actually you got that backwards... That was the Eolas patent and Microsoft IE was the only one who got hit by it. As I recall it was related to how IE activates Flash via Activex. At any rate I think they were hit with $500 Million in damages after the dust settled. IE was the only browser I recall that you had to click to get Flash to work on if you didn't include the Javascript workaround.
    Microsoft was the first (and possibly only) browser maker to pay the licensing fee. If you were remembering it right, you'd remember that all browser makers, not just Microsoft, had to scramble to release "click to activate" updates for their browsers when the patent was deemed valid.

    There are still sites even today, that are affected by that click to activate stuff. At least once a week I come across something I have to click twice and I don't even use Internet Explorer for sites other than my own.

  19. #44
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by joebert View Post
    Microsoft was the first (and possibly only) browser maker to pay the licensing fee. If you were remembering it right, you'd remember that all browser makers, not just Microsoft, had to scramble to release "click to activate" updates for their browsers when the patent was deemed valid.

    There are still sites even today, that are affected by that click to activate stuff. At least once a week I come across something I have to click twice and I don't even use Internet Explorer for sites other than my own.
    Yeah, I do remember it quite well... There was no scramble from the others because the Eolas patent only affects proprietary browsers. IE was clearly in their sights but the others being open source (even Safari) were safe from legal action.

    BTW: The click to activate only affected IE browsers at the time of the infringement and at some point later IE was repatched to remove the click-to-activate feature. I recall something about Opera as well but I never ran into the click-to problem with it. Firefox and Safari never integrated the click-to-activate "feature". Perhaps the websites you've visited have some other reason for requiring a click to activate.

    IMO the Eolas patent is an example of something that shouldn't have been patented and I'm also surprised that MS didn't mount a better defense with prior art. If they had put a call out for prior art the way that has been done via Groklaw on several occasions, they may have found better examples. For instance, Ray Ozzie claims Lotus Notes (which he created) used the same methods as described in the patent prior to the granting of the Eolas patent. That should have rendered that patent invalid. Unfortunately, the prior art they brought to the table's date couldn't be established and the judge prevented it from being used in the trial. In the end they had to pay more than half a billion dollars.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  20. #45
    Floridiot joebert's Avatar
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    I don't want to be rude so I'm just going to suggest you go back and do some more research, awasson. I can find plenty of examples with browsers other than Ie being affected, so I'm sure you will to if you take a look.

  21. #46
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by joebert View Post
    I don't want to be rude so I'm just going to suggest you go back and do some more research, awasson. I can find plenty of examples with browsers other than Ie being affected, so I'm sure you will to if you take a look.
    I know we're off topic but you'll have to post some links to credible information that substantiates your position on Eolas...

    I was quite aware during the course of the patent/lawsuit and recall when my browser was updated with the click patch. I was also surprised that my other browsers weren't affected which lead me to information about the patent, particularly that the patent did (explicitly) not affect open source browsers that are available for free.

    This article from 2006 quotes the patent holder discussing the reason why other browsers aren't affected.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
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  22. #47
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    Yeah, I have to call bull on that too -- IE was the only one affected, I remember people joking about Opera being a Norwegian company basically told the American patent holder where to shove it.

    You know, like the joke about Barnes and Noble's response to the one-click patent.
    http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19991024

  23. #48
    SitePoint Guru Jason__C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinalimit View Post
    Not a joke, it's a fact.

    I also doubt whether it's legal.
    I was serious also. I wish we could sue spammers and troll's, at least the lawyer would be doing something good for society, instead of ambulance chasing, bottom feeders.

  24. #49
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    I was just checking out Opera 11's page... and suddenly the 'click to activate' flash discussion in this thread got me laughing...

    http://www.opera.com/browser/next/

    An option has now been added to have plug-ins such as Flash content load only when clicked on. This is especially helpful for speeding up browsing on computers that have difficulty handling lots of plug-in content. Simply check the “Enable plug-ins only on demand” box in Preferences → Advanced.
    It's now considered a feature!

  25. #50
    SitePoint Wizard
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    And honestly, it's a good feature. =p


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