How sill can patents get? This silly:
http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/09/13/GameShow.pdf [PDF link]
Thanks to CourtHouseNews.com for reporting this.
Apparently the Game Show Network felt it could just steal another company's property by having a computer match, rank and distribute awards to competing contestants based on their relative skill levels. They obviously need to pay dearly for this moral outrage...
More on the specific patent that the U.S. Patent office deemed worthy enough for a monopoly here:
[Posted at 09/13/2011 08:56 AM by Justin Levine on Patent comments(0)]
In an important decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rendered many broadly written software patents invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as interpreted by the Supreme Court's recent Bilski v. Kappos
decision from last year.
The new case is called CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc.
The Patently-O blog has a useful summary and analysis of the decision here:
The PDF version of the decision itself is here:
[Posted at 08/17/2011 11:50 AM by Justin Levine on Software Patents comments(0)]
Outspoken entrepreneur Mark Cuban calls for the end of all software and process patents, referring to most patent lawsuits involving tech companies as B.S.
Read his views at the links below:
Cuban is the kind of guy with enough money and business clout that he could get an audience with most people in our corrupt Congress if he really wanted to press this issue.
Here's hoping that he does.
[Posted at 08/17/2011 10:39 AM by Justin Levine on Patents (General) comments(0)]
Keegan Hamilton has a must-read article
on the front cover of this week's L.A. Weekly (the largest alternative newspaper in the Southern California area).
There is nothing in it that regular followers to this site don't already know in its broad strokes, but its still well worth the time to read and get your blood boiling over how extortion artists have taken over the legal system in the IP wars.
The opening paragraphs:
The bad news arrived in John Doe 2,057's mailbox in May. His wife unsealed a thick envelope from Comcast and read a carefully worded message explaining that a company called Imperial Enterprises, Inc. had filed a lawsuit against him in Washington, D.C., federal court. He stood accused of having illegally downloaded a copyrighted film five months earlier, at precisely 6:03 a.m. on the morning of January 27. The name of the Imperial Enterprises movie he purportedly purloined wasn't mentioned until four pages later. Though printed in tiny italic font in a court filing, it practically leapt off the page: Tokyo Cougar Creampies.
Yet when Mrs. Doe set eyes on that ignominious title, she couldn't help but crack a smile at the absurdity of the situation. Her husband is legally blind, with vision roughly 1/100th of that of a person with normal sight. He is physically incapable of watching any film, this particular porno included.
Read the full thing here:
[Posted at 08/13/2011 04:38 PM by Justin Levine on IP Bullying comments(0)]
Via Eugene Volokh
, a small excerpt from a judge's decision which seems to "get it" when it comes to copyright extortion:
Mattel asserted a copyright claim that was stunning in scope and unreasonable in the relief it requested. The claim imperiled free expression, competition, and the only serious competitor Mattel had faced in the fashion doll market in nearly 50 years. MGA's successful defense ensured that well-resourced plaintiffs cannot bend the law to suit their pecuniary interests. For these reasons, and pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505, the Court awards MGA $105,688,073.00 in attorneys' fees and $31,677,104.00 in costs.
Judge Carter's specific reasoning makes one want to jump for joy! -
Fee awards to copyright defendants serve a purpose loftier than mere compensation: rewarding a successful defense that "enrich[es] the general public through access to creative works." Fogerty, 510 U.S. at 527. The rationales that underlie copyright favor limitation. Defendants play an important role in "demacrat[ing]" [sic] the "boundaries of copyright law" by raising defenses predicated upon public access to creative works and the novel expression of ideas...
Read the full Mattel v. MGA decision here:
Mattel has had a notorious history of IP abuse:
Their legal affairs department could definitely use some re-education. Meanwhile, they payback is enjoyable in this instance.
[Posted at 08/05/2011 08:54 AM by Justin Levine on IP Bullying comments(0)]
Via Andrew Sullivan
Ideologically diverse commentators are in agreement that today's patent system harms both innovation and competition.
The Economist headlines 'Patents Against Prosperity'.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones rails against patent overreach as well.
Congress is still bought and paid for by the patent industry - but could we at least be witnessing a grass roots convergence against patent overreach from both sides of the political spectrum? If we could at least get a consensus to explicitly ban software and business method patents, that would be a start on desperately needed reforms.
I think what we are seeing here is a potential start of the start...which in and of itself is a start.
[Posted at 08/02/2011 09:54 AM by Justin Levine on Patents (General) comments(0)]
Leave it to the Federal Circuit to do all it can to keep expanding patentable subject matters to their broadest possible reaches.
Patently-O blog has a useful summary of the decision here:
The lengthy court decision can be found here:
[Updated note: I would particularly recommend that you Judge Bryson's persuasive dissent in the opinion, starting at pg. 87 in the PDF document.]
[Posted at 07/29/2011 09:54 AM by Justin Levine on Patents (General) comments(0)]
[Posted at 07/28/2011 03:14 PM by Justin Levine on Patents (General) comments(0)]
and insighful piece
from This American Life which John Bennett pointed to
on this site earlier is getting a lot of (mainly positive) reaction from several heavy hitters throughout the web.
Masnick at Techdirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110724/22250715225/when-patents-attack-how-patents-are-destroying-innovation-silicon-valley.shtml
Felix Salmon: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/07/25/the-cost-of-patent-trolls/
Matthew Yglesias at ThinkProgress: http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/07/25/277901/this-american-life-on-patent-trolls/
Andrew Sullivan: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/07/shaking-down-innovation.html
They command the eyeballs of a lot of influential people. But you can still color me cynical that any rational leadership will come out of Washington on this issue.
[Posted at 07/27/2011 08:47 AM by Justin Levine on Patents (General) comments(0)]
Funny how that works, isn't it?
The cost of prescription medicines used by millions of people every day is about to plummet.
The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix.
The magnitude of this wave of expiring drugs patents is unprecedented. Between now and 2016, blockbusters with about $255 billion in global annual sales are set to go off patent...
Top drugs getting generic competition by September 2012 are taken by millions every day: Lipitor alone is taken by about 4.3 million Americans and Plavix by 1.4 million. Generic versions of big-selling drugs for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, depression, high triglycerides, HIV and bipolar disorder also are coming by then.
[P]atients, along with businesses and taxpayers who help pay for prescription drugs through corporate and government prescription plans, collectively will save a small fortune. That's because generic drugs typically cost 20 percent to 80 percent less than the brand names.
Doctors hope the lower prices will significantly reduce the number of people jeopardizing their health because they can't afford medicines they need.
[Posted at 07/25/2011 06:19 AM by Justin Levine on Pharmaceutical Patents comments(0)]