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posted by martyb on Thursday May 22 2014, @05:33PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

The EFF reports that Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy has announced that he is taking the Innovation Act off the Judiciary Committee's agenda. According to Senator Leahy's official statement:

Unfortunately, there has been no agreement on how to combat the scourge of patent trolls on our economy without burdening the companies and universities who rely on the patent system every day to protect their inventions. We have heard repeated concerns that the House-passed bill went beyond the scope of addressing patent trolls, and would have severe unintended consequences on legitimate patent holders who employ thousands of Americans.

I have said all along that we needed broad bipartisan support to get a bill through the Senate. Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal.

However, the Innovation Act passed 325-91 in the House with strong bipartisan support, as well as massive support from industry as well, and the President has signalled his support for the initiative. The EFF comments:

Leahy effectively deferred a problem—a serious problem he readily admits exists—in order to please the pharmaceutical, biotech, and university lobbies that are hardly the victims of patent trolls anyway... What Senator Leahy really means, is that he does not support a deal and is willing to be the final roadblock.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Alfred on Thursday May 22 2014, @05:43PM

    by Alfred (4006) on Thursday May 22 2014, @05:43PM (#46469) Journal

    Can I patent bad legislative skills to stop bad decisions by claiming infringement? There must be a loophole I can use if I have enough lawyers.

    Probably not, there is no group in history with this much prior art on record.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by bucc5062 on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:01PM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:01PM (#46474)

      If somehow you can add, on the computer or on the internet I think you're golden.

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:35PM

        by Tork (3914) on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:35PM (#46494)
        "If somehow you can add, on the computer or on the internet I think you're golden."

        What's funny about this statement and its subsequent 'funny' moderation is that the 'on a computer' stipulation means the patent is not broad, but rather very specific. It's that same reason that a company like Nike wouldn't be able to sue a company like Belkin because their network cables infringe on a patent on preventing shoelaces from fraying. This is actually what people want, despite the crap the green-site fed you all for years.

        Perhaps if tech news sites didn't use headlines like: "Microsoft Patents Page Turning!!!1!" there'd be a lot less anger on the matter.
        --
        Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by cmn32480 on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:19PM

      by cmn32480 (443) <reversethis-{gro ... {ta} {08423nmc}> on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:19PM (#46478) Journal

      Just don't round the corners.

      --
      "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:39PM (#46498)
        That was about trade-dress and not about functionality. To somebody educated on the matter you sound like somebody making a joke about Africa being a country as opposed to a continent.
        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:02PM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:02PM (#46511) Homepage

          Were you educated on drugs when you were educated on English?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:42PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:42PM (#46528)
            Why yes, I did learn quite a bit about how drugs cause brain damage while I was in school. That is why I know his limitation is a lack of education on the topic and not one of his brain operating in an altered state.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:34PM

          by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:34PM (#46542)

          > That was about trade-dress and not about functionality.

          In this case that's a distinction without a difference. The idea that something so generic as rounded corners, a black face or a grid of icons could qualify for any sort of legal ownership by adding "on a phone" is farcical and just another example of where the law has become so abstract as to no longer be tethered in the world of regular people (who are, after all, the ones whom trade dress is supposed to inform).

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @10:33PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @10:33PM (#46554)

            > In this case that's a distinction without a difference.

            No, it is not. The trade dress of a product is designed to prevent consumer confusion, it prevents you from purchasing a Sory TV, for example. The prior art people love to bring up all the time are all part of the filing that Apple made... because, again, this is trade-dress and not a utility patent. Also, it wasn't that the corners were rounded, it was that the rounded corners were one of the 25+ similarities between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad that were specifically duplicated, even down to their radius.

            > The idea that something so generic as rounded corners... could qualify for any sort of legal ownership by adding "on a phone" is farcical...

            The distinction between trade-dress and utility would help you understand this topic better. It is not a topic that has been properly covered on the popular news-tech sites, and even less so on those that serve ads. You're suffering from sensationalism-poisoning.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @03:04AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @03:04AM (#46595)

              Except if everyone already uses round corners in almost every product. What makes Apple so special that they can claim them as their own?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @03:49AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @03:49AM (#46609)
                This was adequately covered in the very post you replied to.
                • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Friday May 23 2014, @05:37AM

                  by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday May 23 2014, @05:37AM (#46628)

                  > This was adequately covered in the very post you replied to.

                  No, it really wasn't. All that post did was ignore the fact that I expressed clear knowledge of what the goal of trade dress is and that the features in dispute here are far too generic to be meaningful trade dress. It wasn't much more than a reiteration of your original point without taking into account anything I wrote, like you only read enough of it to leave out the relevant parts when you quoted it.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @06:56AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @06:56AM (#46651)

                    > No, it really wasn't...

                    It was but for some reason, as evidenced again by your most recent post, you and the other AC can't seem to interpret a key phrase in my post that adequately answers the question. I really don't get it. Either my post has sentence or two in it that keeps disappearing before you see it (real-time NSA censorship maybe...?) or you want me to repeat it for debate reasons. I'm happy to discuss this with you but it's going to take a long time if I have to repeat myself... which is weird to do in a written context. I mean, I suppose I could have a test at the end of every post. Something like: "Name a condition that would invalidate a trade-dress patent" or "why would a specific element of a trade dress patent not be rendered invalid by prior art". The flaw in that approach, though, is that if you could actually pass that test we have nothing more to debate about. We'd have to move on to the working conditions at Foxconn or antenna-gate.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @11:12AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @11:12AM (#46703)

                      lol, meandering incoherence FTL!

                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:05PM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @04:05PM (#46789)

                        Alter course! Speed: Full cop-out!!

                  • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday May 23 2014, @10:54PM

                    by urza9814 (3954) on Friday May 23 2014, @10:54PM (#46936) Journal

                    > This was adequately covered in the very post you replied to.

                    No, it really wasn't. All that post did was ignore the fact that I expressed clear knowledge of what the goal of trade dress is and that the features in dispute here are far too generic to be meaningful trade dress. It wasn't much more than a reiteration of your original point without taking into account anything I wrote, like you only read enough of it to leave out the relevant parts when you quoted it.

                    Since the guy you were replying too was too polite to say it: Holy crap, are you *illiterate* or something?

                    Here, I'll make it easy for you. Here's exactly where it was addressed:

                    Also, it wasn't that the corners were rounded, it was that the rounded corners were one of the 25+ similarities between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad that were specifically duplicated, even down to their radius.

                    "Rounded corners" is generic.
                    "Rounded corners exactly 13mmx16mm" is specific.
                    "Rounded corners exactly 13mmx16mm plus these other 24 precisely replicated design aspects" is specific enough to be a trade dress violation.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @12:54AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @12:54AM (#46954)

                      I just wanted to say thank you.

                    • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday May 24 2014, @01:53AM

                      by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday May 24 2014, @01:53AM (#46960)

                      >> Also, it wasn't that the corners were rounded, it was that the rounded corners were one of the
                      >> 25+ similarities between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad that were specifically duplicated, even
                      >> down to their radius.
                      >
                      > "Rounded corners exactly 13mmx16mm" is specific.

                      That's great except for the inconvenient fact that Apple did not win any claims with respect to the Galaxy Tab [vox-cdn.com] and that the corners on Samsung's phones did not have an identical radius to the iphone, [justia.com] they aren't even equally rounded on the same phone with the top corners have a smaller radius than the bottom corners.

                      But I'm pretty sure you knew that already which is why, despite having specific measurements in hand, you deliberately left out any links to document your claims. Jackass.

                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @02:17AM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @02:17AM (#46965)

                        The word 'win' was not used, no inconvenience there. You really should get that reading comprehension problem sorted out before call anybody a jackass. Seriously. One of us will send us a link and you'll 'refute' it by using your selective memory as a super-power.

                        • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday May 24 2014, @02:40AM

                          by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday May 24 2014, @02:40AM (#46971)

                          > The word 'win' was not used, no inconvenience there.

                          Lol, the old "I didn't literally say that" defense. Of course the entire problem with patent reform are the claims that are not won.

                          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @03:40AM

                            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @03:40AM (#46986)

                            > Lol, the old "I didn't literally say that" defense.

                            Lol, the old "I object, it's devastating to my case!" defense.

                            > Of course the entire problem with patent reform are the claims that are not won.

                            I am reminded of Kelly Bundy trying to impress some of her more academically-inclined classmates at a party: "Of course the Soviet Union was bound to fall, it's all the way at the end of the map!"

                            • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday May 24 2014, @05:01AM

                              by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday May 24 2014, @05:01AM (#47023)

                              >> Of course the entire problem with patent reform are the claims that are not won.
                              >
                              > Lol, the old "I object, it's devastating to my case!" defense.

                              You appear to be trying to refute my point. I don't see it though.
                              Will you explain why the claims that Apple lost on are relevant to patent reform?

                              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @05:55AM

                                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @05:55AM (#47037)

                                Please pardon my confusion, I wasn't expecting the goal posts to shift to the other end of the field. You want me to explain to you why Apple losing a claim involving a trade-dress patent, that has an element that you think they shouldn't have because you think it's a humorously-broad utility patent, is relevant to the patent reform that, if you had your way, would deny them from having a utility-patent that they don't actually and couldn't possibly have? I might have taken on that challenge on except I've already given you valuable relevant info that took three posts and an extra participant to get you to even notice was there... and I really don't think you've quite absorbed it yet. Kelly, I think your fish tank is full.

                                • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday May 24 2014, @06:00AM

                                  by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday May 24 2014, @06:00AM (#47039)

                                  > because you think it's a humorously-broad utility patent,

                                  Since I never once said that, in fact my very first sentence on the topic was to spell out that whether it is a utility patent or trade dress, it does not matter to the larger point. But you keep projecting it on my position as a strawman so I think we are done.

                                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @07:00AM

                                    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24 2014, @07:00AM (#47054)

                                    You did, actually, especially in your first post, and that was not the only instance of it. It *does* matter but you don't understand the distinction, it's something you're bizarrely averse to, so you cannot see why it matters. That is not a failing on my part, it is solely yours. You're welcome to bail to save try to face if you like, but you should take my advice and avoid using rounded corners as an argument for patent reform to an educated person. You'll enjoy the same luck a friend of mine did when he help up a 3.25" disk to his Computer Science teacher and called it a hard-drive.

                      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Tuesday May 27 2014, @12:45PM

                        by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday May 27 2014, @12:45PM (#47878) Journal

                        Ah, well that is certainly a valid refutation of his argument then. I was just assuming the facts as stated were valid since you hadn't yet provided any assertion otherwise. I only looked up the iPhone radius.

  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:03PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:03PM (#46475)

    I didn't see any mention of patents on his wikipedia page. Maybe someone can update it? I honestly have never made an edit : /

    --
    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by everdred on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:48PM

      by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:48PM (#46482) Homepage Journal

      Wikipedia won't survive on lurkers alone. Make edits.

      • (Score: 1) by Lunix Nutcase on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:48PM

        by Lunix Nutcase (3913) on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:48PM (#46504)

        Can I get a tote bag?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:17PM (#46515)

        If you don't the topic squatters might disappear without any edits to undo.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tibman on Friday May 23 2014, @01:33AM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 23 2014, @01:33AM (#46585)

        lol, thanks for the push. Made the edit, wasn't so bad. Bets on how long it will survive?

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @12:06PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @12:06PM (#46717)

        Truer words were never spoken. Why you were modded funny instead of insightful or interesting I don't get. Wikipedia thrives on edits.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by weeds on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:27PM

    by weeds (611) on Thursday May 22 2014, @06:27PM (#46479) Journal

    "Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal."

    That's what we have you for.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bob_super on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:23PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:23PM (#46490)

      You beat me to it, have a point.

      Those guys are supposed to represent the will of the people. Why does it matter what companies think?
      Before someone objects that companies have the expertise and old geezers don't, let's remember that the point of paying so many idiots in DC (or London, or Brasilia, or Brussels) is that _they_ are supposed to agree based on competing expert input (a-k-a bribe comparisons).

      If legislation is now defined as the ratification of an agreement between companies, can we make it official and only pay one single guy to say "yes" in congress? We can sell those shiny buildings for a pretty penny, and save maintenance costs too.

      • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:33PM

        by DECbot (832) on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:33PM (#46541) Journal
        But the Supreme Court says that corporations are people too. If the politicians don't protect their interests, who will? </obviousSarcasm>
        --
        cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @09:42AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @09:42AM (#46681)

        The will of the people? Most people don't even know, care to know and wouldn't really care if they knew.

        If politicians keep getting reelected after listening to lobbyists it should be no surprise they listen to lobbyists more than the voters.

        If the voters actually didn't like this it's their own fault - they failed in their responsibility to:
        0) be informed
        1) provide feedback
        2) vote for better candidates if feedback didn't work.

        BUT the truth is more that most voters don't care about such stuff (they care and vote on "hot button" topics[1]). Only a minority cares.

        I suspect the politicians do actually care about their ratings and the opinion polls. When enough voters start to really care, that's when you get stuff like the recent marijuana legislation. Or in the past - giving blacks and women the right to vote.

        [1] like abortion, gay marriage etc. Of course the fact that the USA is quite strongly (and somewhat "neatly") divided in two on such issues may allow the "ruling class" to more easily herd voters into either the D or R pens. But if they were instead split on other "important issues" that the ruling class also didn't really care about, a similar thing would happen too. The D and Rs will probably split the votes on those issues, and 95% will vote for D/R and the ruling class will lobby D+R on issues that they care about and get the laws they want.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Thursday May 22 2014, @10:11PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Thursday May 22 2014, @10:11PM (#46551)

      No. This isn't some committee overreaching. In a perfect world the senators that passed the bill would have read it, discussed it between themselves and industry representatives, and then voted on it. In the real world some lobbyist shoved an half-baked bill some company's lawyers or some 20 something Harvard grad wrote without much wide considerations that the senators voted on without reading since the party said it was just a few small straightforward fixes to kill off patent trolling.

      In all likelihood the senate judiciary committee heard complaints from legitimate businesses (universities and pharmaceuticals) saying the bill will hurt their interests and decided to stop the bill since they know the bill was never intended as a reform.

      Personally, I'd would much rather see a real reform on the patent laws being passed by the whole of congress instead of all this stopgap measures you seen every other year.

      --
      compiling...
  • (Score: 2) by Rune of Doom on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:48PM

    by Rune of Doom (1392) on Thursday May 22 2014, @07:48PM (#46505)

    Having the Invisible Hand shoved so far up his ass that it works his mouth like a Muppet, I mean. I'd worry about higher brain functions, but its obvious that those get surgically removed upon election to the Senate. (Sometime between swearing in and getting committee assignments is my best guess as to when.)

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:10PM (#46538)

      The 'invisible hand' works only in the case of no market interference. Unnatural monopolies (such as granted by patents, gov regulations, bribes, etc) are a market distortion. Once you add in a distortion it does not work.

      Like most economic theories they *only* work if there is no external factor upsetting the apple cart. For example communism sounds good on paper. Yet fails to take into account people being lazy dicks. Pure capitalism (with its invisible hand) only works if there is no market interference and I mean NONE.

      We in the US have a blend as people also want to work social items into our economy. That only works if you can get the policies right and do not have greed in the mix. Which does not work because there are metric tons of it.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by monster on Friday May 23 2014, @07:35AM

        by monster (1260) on Friday May 23 2014, @07:35AM (#46663) Journal

        Pure capitalism (with its invisible hand) only works if there is no market interference and I mean NONE.

        Don't forget to add "perfect competition" and "low barriers to new participants" to the mix. Else you end up with cartels, price fixing, collusion and some other nasties.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @03:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23 2014, @03:01PM (#46766)

          .Don't forget to add "perfect competition" and "low barriers to new participants" to the mix. Else you end up with cartels, price fixing, collusion and some other nasties.

          I meant NONE. That is market interference. Like communism it leaves out people are dicks. The market can be manipulated by people as well as government.

          All econ theory assumes there are no bad players. The reality is, a good majority are.

          Most econ theory works on iteration 1 and maybe iteration 2 and they rarely look forward to iteration 10.

          This book talks mostly about how market manipulation has nasty side effects too
          http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/ [steshaw.org]

          It is somewhat flawed in its conclusions but a good read. I like it because it is a good framework to show what regulations will do. You can have good ones and bad ones with major side effects.

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday May 23 2014, @10:59PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Friday May 23 2014, @10:59PM (#46940) Journal

        The 'invisible hand' works only in the case of no market interference.

        Doesn't look like there was much interference here. Just the free market determining the price of a congressperson.

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:45PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 22 2014, @08:45PM (#46530) Journal

    Somebody in the Mainstream press (because nobody reads anything else) needs to start looking into his finances.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @09:31PM (#46540)

    Under Harry Reid, the Senate has become unprecedentedly partisan. The minority party no longer even may bring new items up for debate. The last refuge of the minority, the filibuster, has been partially stripped away.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100014240527 02304347904579310683963665974 [wsj.com]

    I urge you to hate politicians on both sides, not just the Republicans. Lately the worst in government has come from the Democrats. (If the news media bent over backwards to protect the Republicans instead of the Democrats, and treated Democrats the way they treat Republicans, it would probably be the Republicans who are worse. But that isn't the world we live in.)

    So, this is Senator Leahy being the problem all by himself. But he's not in a vacuum. He has power because the Democratic party gave it to him, and they could threaten to take it away again. The President is a Democrat, and he can push on Leahy. The press could whip up a firestorm of bad publicity about this. But nobody will do anything, and Leahy's voters will re-elect him.

    If you support the Democrats, you are supporting this.

  • (Score: 1) by timbim on Friday May 23 2014, @07:01PM

    by timbim (907) on Friday May 23 2014, @07:01PM (#46854)

    Vote Green.