Rest easy, eBay addicts. You can still log on to the world's most famous auction site and "Buy It Now." MercExchange, that pugnacious patent holder in Great Lakes, Virginia, has failed in its latest attempt to shut down the nifty little eBay button that lets you purchase items before an auction plays itself out. Last month, …
Brief but useful
the US legal system is dysfunctional, and the patent and copyright regime is insane.
a boozer friend of mine ("i'm not an alcoholic, i'm a drunk; alcoholics go to meetings") explained to me that, once in a great while, alcoholics will have a "moment of clarity". she said that, in her case, these moments are generally well-timed and critically useful.
i believe we are witnessing one such moment in this judgement.
this will likely be followed (at the other extreme) by a successful patent on the verb "to be", in all its verbal and written conjugated forms, regardless of extensive prior art, and a lawsuit against absolutely everyone who speaks English, for damages and an injunction.
to avoid this issue, i'm already learning Spanish, and the wife is working on Mandarin...
I agree with B Shubin. However, this morning I have taken out copyright on every word and phrase in every language on this and every other planet.
You can write to me to complain about this, of course, but I will be charging for every word you write.
In the interim, I'd like to believe that any British judge would have dismissed the entire case as the crock of crap it clearly is, and thrown a whole bunch of costs at MercExchange for wasting court time, trivialising the law, opportunism... Oh, and being a bunch of tossers (not sure that's an offence in civil or criminal law but what the hey).
I must stop writing now as my lawyer says I have to invoice myself for all these words, and I ain't got a bean.
RE: Brief but useful
Nonsense, a patent on verbs of being can generate much linguistic innovation! By eliminating "to be", it forces speakers use the active rather than passive voice; I think we all agree that Americans need more activity in their lives...
People spend too much time crying about "silly" patents without recognizing the role they vital role they play in competitive markets. Now, I must get to work on my latest patent, "Method for the Transmission of Semantic Content through Expression of Phoneme Strings"...
On that point, I was down in my local supermarket this morning and they had these small, round, orange objects in a basket inside the door which they were calling "mandarins" - surely China should sue?
It always amazes me
that any patent system allows such ludicrous patents as "clicking on a button to buy something" to be awarded. Why don't the patent office just tell them not to be such morons and take a hike?
While I'm here, it would be really useful if the article was visible in the comments section, so that we can see what people are talking about when they refer back to the article.
(I must apply for a patent on that.
What's prior art? )
Right, I'm going to apply for a patent on the phrase "I've had an idea". I'm now going to sue anybody who says "I've had an idea!!". After all, it seems quite reasonable that they should have to pay me for a license for my "I've had an idea" technology.
He patented a button ?
I despair of articles like this.
Message to Americans, dont you think you are all made to look stupid for this sort of behaviour ?
I thought that the patent system was developed to protect innovative new ideas. A button you can click on to make a purchase is not a great new idea - it is blatantly obvious, so surely ebay could contest the patent?
Just void the patent
This case will continue to bring the US patent system into total disrepute until some time somebody senior has the guts to say "This patent is wholly trivial and obvious, should never have been granted and US patent law is is retrospectively amended to make patents such as this void and unenforceable".
Until that time, the entire world will continue to look on the US patents system as the total mockery that it is -- a system that is more interested in giving lawyers and scavengers the right to print money instead of just protecting the genuine inventions.
This is a Good Patent
I heartily support any patent that would rid eBay of all those idiots that have failed to grasp the concept of an auction. Look for anything camera-related and all you get is pages of dodgy Hong Kong shops with Buy it Now at the normal retail price.
Whilst the legal profession continues to rake in huge wedges of cash for handling these cases no-one would dare mess with the system.
Now I'm off to file a patent on a system of ones & zeros that are used to represent information within a silicon based devices that, using electrical impulses, can manipulate the ones & zeros and turn them into dirty pictures on a screen
Actually, point of pedantry - the word "mandarin" is Portuguese, not Chinese. It's an outer-barabarian description. I think "mandar" means head honcho or something.
the whole patent sytem is about stopping things, restricting use and preventing progress. Bin the lot! let humanity run free!
But seriously a patent on clicking is seriously dumb especially as the internet depends on clicking, perhaps I could patent opening mouths and noise coming out? oh and while Im at it im gonna slap a patent on pressing buttons and language charcters/words appearing on a display interface. that should shut em all up!
BT & Hyperlink
seriously, a system that is designed to protect an obvious idea until the dumb idoit thinks of a use for it is ludicras especially when every other bod on the planet starts using it, because its obvious!
Patents, defensive and software
Dump software patents. That will save us tons of time and expense. Many software patents are for obvious ideas. Or not very novel.
Defensive patents are a real pain. What's even worse are defensive ideas. Don't bother with a patent until someone else files, then claim "first to invent". The US needs to follow the lead of the rest of the world. "First to file". My wife holds 8 EU patents, but only 2 of those have been filed in the US.
"Intellectual" property lawyer...?
> " ... and this is particularly true in the technology area, where a single technology can effect hundreds if not thousands of patents," says Sarah King, an intellectual property lawyer ...
She can't be an intellectual property lawyer, she's a moronic property lawyer, she doesn't even understand how to use the words "effect" and "affect" properly...
Affect and effect, each both noun and verb, share the sense of “influence,” and because of their similarity in pronunciation are sometimes confused in writing. As a verb affect means “to act on” or “to move” ('His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept'); affect means “to pretend” or “to assume” ('new students affecting a nonchalance they didn't feel'). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish” ('Her administration effected radical changes'). The noun effect means “result, consequence” ('the serious effects of the oil spill'). The noun 'affect' pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, is a technical term in psychology and psychiatry. 'Affect' is not used as a noun.
"Message to Americans, dont you think you are all made to look stupid for this sort of behaviour?"
Only to stupid people who don't understand that when A is a member of C and B is a member of C, A is not necessarily equal (or even remotely similar) to B.
@"Intellectual": She must be a little more intellectual than you, if she understood that the verb "effect" AS YOU DESCRIBED IT is perfectly appropriate. Read: "... where a single technology can [bring about] hundreds if not thousands of patents..." Of course "affect" is appropriate as well, which leads to the real question you failed to ask: Did Sarah King actually "say" this, in which case it was possibly transcribed incorrectly, or did she write this, in which case it was possibly spelled incorrectly? Without more background information, the true meaning of her statement is debatable, and application of the descriptive "moronic" is premature.
PS. If you want to get into a pedant fight, we could discuss your punctuation or the logical inconsistency of those last two sentences...
@everyone else: The real problem is that the US Patent and Trademark Office is understaffed with undertrained examiners who are overpressured to clear their backlog of patent applications. There are efforts in this country to increase staffing and training levels as well as to reduce the number of patents filed. (Personally I would like to see severe criminal penalties for the filing of stupid patents like this one -- or just a requirement that a patented techology be used in a real product within 2 years or be automatically voided -- with the onus on the patent-holder to prove that it has been used.) E-bay is contesting the patent, but that goes back to the same understaffed USPTO.
@theregister: can we get rid of the stupid "Post anonymously" option? I like to take credit for my crazy rantings, and would prefer if everyone else were held to the same standard. A system designed to protect idoits who just want to badmouth every other bod is ludicras.
I'd think Amazon would be better suited...
As they have another stupid patent: "1-Click buying".
That's as close as I'd get to the "Buy It Now" button ... except Amazon does use it, while MercExchange stinks of patent troll.
Anyway, most software patents are just stupid ... 1-Click? It is more of legally crippling other vendors than really protecting "innovation". Even back then, any bozo could have setup a 1-Click sales site, please!
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