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posted by janrinok on Tuesday February 13 2018, @08:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the better-living-through-patent-trolling dept.

Patent Troll Blackbird's patent is invalidated in fight with Cloudflare.

We're happy to report that earlier today, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case that Blackbird brought against Cloudflare. In a two-page order (copied below) Judge Vince Chhabria noted that "[a]bstract ideas are not patentable" and then held that Blackbird's attempted assertion of the patent "attempts to monopolize the abstract idea of monitoring a preexisting data stream between a server" and is invalid as a matter of law. That means that Blackbird loses no matter what the facts of the case would have been.

Before the court ever even considered Cloudflare's actions, it found that the supposed innovation reflected in Blackbird's patent was too abstract to have been protectable in the first place. This means that the case against Cloudflare could not continue, but further, that the patent is completely invalid and Blackbird cannot use it to sue ANYONE in the future.

All of this only confirms the position we've taken from the beginning with regard to the way that Blackbird and other patent trolls operate. Blackbird acquired an absurdly broad patent from an inventor that had apparently never attempted to turn that patent into a business that made products, hired people, or paid taxes. And Blackbird used that patent to harass at least three companies that are in the business of making products and contributing to the economy.


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  • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @08:58PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @08:58PM (#637265)

    That's the thing about law; it's house of cards built on a hill of sand.

    When you dig down, terms are never well defined. All of case law ultimately rests on the collection of judges' heuristic gut feelings.

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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday February 13 2018, @09:54PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @09:54PM (#637286) Journal

    Once upon a time, before computers, patents were, I think, mostly about machines that you built or developed. A better hand gun. A light bulb. I don't think there was much abstraction. Patents required a drawing of the machine.

    It was software patents that mucked things up.

    --
    While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:00PM (#637290)

      Ericson was a 33 year old adult man. He owned an ordinary house, an ordinary yard, and worked at an ordinary job. You might even say that Ericson was a quintessential example of an ordinary person. However, one thing differentiated Ericson from his peers, which was his well-known hobby of playing with children's toys; this fact earned Ericson much ridicule in his workplace.

      A man was in a bedroom, playing with what looked to be a child's toy. "Shit! Those bastards! How dare they mock me for my hobbies!" he shouted in a room with no one else present. The man, Ericson, was aggressively punching his toy to relieve his frustration, and in his anger, he was not even considering that the toy might break. "I'll show them! I'll show them all! They're all shallow and worthless! There's nothing wrong with an adult playing with children's toys!" Ericson ranted and ranted, and punched and punched. Then, it happened.

      Broken. The toy was broken. "Oh, no! No! I broke another toy! Ugh! Why are these things so fragile!? They just don't make them like they used to! Now I'll need to buy a new one!" As Ericson contemplated the idea of choosing out a new toy, he became very excited and lost himself in his delusions.

      Some time later, the driver of a car passing by Ericson's house spotted a naked woman's corpse stuffed into a garbage can on the side of the road.

  • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:03PM (1 child)

    by Sulla (5173) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:03PM (#637292) Journal

    Correct me if my thinking is incorrect, but what comes to mind for me is claiming you have a patent on cars because you have a description of "put a motor on a horseless carriage" verses "vehicle of dimensions x with gasoline motor of x displacement and transmission with x gears in x configuration". The goal being to make your patent as broad as possible while still having it be enforceable, the Blackbird people appear to have been too far off to the side for general and lacked specifics that would have been necessary to enforce.

    --
    Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:26PM (#637305)

      I post without karma bonus, you should too

      Why? I always browse at -1. I don't care what your karma bonus is.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:13PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:13PM (#637298)

    Wow, way to take the edge cases and apply them blindly to the general. We GET IT! You don't understand humanity, your mind prefers the logic of computer systems. You're doomed to fail socially for the rest of your life as long as you ride that high horse and refuse to comprehend human society.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:25PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:25PM (#637304)

      These days, "riding the high horse", "comprehending human society" and "generalizing edge cases" have been patented.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @12:16AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @12:16AM (#637358)

      You're doomed to fail socially for the rest of your life as long as you ride that high horse and refuse to comprehend human society.

      So in short, we need a meteor to wipe out this worthless, irrational species? I can agree with that.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:32AM (#637517)

        Doesn't have to be a meteor. A big red button will do.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:41PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @10:41PM (#637312) Journal

    I don't know the legal definition, but I'd say the litmus test for abstraction should be: Can you build a product solely using the information of the patent together with state-of-the-art technology? If not, then it is abstract and should not be a patent.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.