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back to article Palm unfazed by Apple patent threat

Palm CEO Ed Colligan isn't worried about a possible legal battle with Apple over the upcoming Palm Pre smartphone. After telling investors that there will be no more PalmOS devices after the Centro retires - and that the Pre won't be limited to software downloaded from Palm's Software Store - Colligan turned to the subject of …

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Happy

Wonder if

Palm believes an iwidget has infringed on one of their patents and is just itching for Apple to make a move so they can whip it out and smack em with it. I bet Apple will be very cautious if only coz they are wondering why Palm aren't peeing themselves in terror.

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Tim Cook is...

...a real threat for Apple's longevity - he's clearly a typical 'business 'stonehead', not a savy-sneaky Jobs (who's an arrogant @-hole but knows when to pick a fight and when to turn an issue into Apple marketing news rather.)

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cautious

Apple has a bunch of patents and so does Palm but no-one's rushing to court. The patent landscape has changed a lot over the past few months so everyone's trying to figure out the new terrain, including Apple.

I'm not a patent attorney (thankfully) so I can't decipher all that stuff. But if reports are to be believed then Apple seems to have a reasonable case. If Palm believes that too then they'll offer to settle -- Apple might or might not accept.

They're both big companies and aren't into the "sue the deep pockets" thing.

Any good lawyer will tell you that going to court is the last thing you want to do, and will try his/her best to avoid it. Sometimes you can't. If he/she doesn't tell you this, find a *good* lawyer.

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Apple - The New SCO?

I wish.....

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Paris Hilton

Who cares about Apple?

Yep, If I was Palm I would not worry too much, once Steve is not in charge anymore Apple will go down quickly due to the "shoemaker manager" syndrome.

Palm was once plagued by this nasty syndrome too, and it didn't fully recover since. They have plenty of in-house first hand experience.

I will say it once again, many of the big IT companies that fail do so because there is no IT people/IT Minded at the top. Those IT companies that do well do have IT people/IT Minded at the top. MS, Apple, Google, Red Hat... :)

Once a shoemaker walks-in into an IT company, all he can do is; cut the research budget, make money saving deals with MS, and produce new IT goods with little or no added value over the old version, but which are sponsored by celebrities.

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Thumb Up

@ Angus

lol... that'd be one hell of a sucker punch :D

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Apple in the dark

Prior art able to invalidate the core claims is piling up and its possible Palm will be found to only infringe on parts that get invalidated. Rushing into court could do little more than invalidate Apples patent. What would be left is a 'look and feel' case and they tend to lead nowhere.

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Stop

How about this

How about these ideas for patent reform?

* All patents subject to compulsory, non-discriminatory licencing. (Patents exist to reward inventors for sharing things, not just thinking of them.)

* Patent Office, not holder, sets royalty rates for aforementioned licencing, unless holder wishes it to be licenced gratis. (Prevents effective lock-out by setting stupid rates.)

* Patent examiners are paid according to what they reject. (Reduces temptation for examiners to grant frivolous patents.)

* No prototype => work of science fiction, not a proper patent application.

* Term of validity runs from date of filing, not date of award. (Prevents "submarine patents".)

* Patent is annulled in event that it becomes a legal requirement (e.g. if someone holds a patent on a low-pollution / less hazardous version of a process which ends up being the only way to comply with a newly-introduced environmental / safety law). (Prevents effective privatisation of law.)

* Demonstrably-independent invention is not breach of patent.

* Courts get power to annul patent and charge both sides costs, in event of a dispute. (Gives highly effective weapon against trolls by threatening to cut off revenue stream if abused.)

Constructive criticism welcomed.

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Go

@ How about this

looks good to me.

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Go

Re: How about this.

I can see a problem with the sixth point. Here's a scenario.

1) Small inventor patents rather clever and efficient process.

2) Big, evil company produces prototype product using new efficient process under wraps.

3) Big, evil company lobbies government to require use of efficient process as opposed to old, inefficient process.

4) Government snaps up "greenwash" opportunity.

5) Big, evil company does a Blue Peter product launch ("Here's one I prepared earlier").

6) Small inventor takes the shaft.

I can also see a problem with the seventh. Here's the new lucre-rich point for fancy lawyers to "demonstrate" big, evil company's "independent" innovation. Another way for the small innovator (who can't afford the big legal bills) to get rogered up the backside.

I'd add a ninth point. Any attempt to sue someone for patent violation which results in your patent being held invalid / inapplicable should automatically result in your picking up *both* sets of legal costs in full. i.e. you'd better be bloody sure it's sound, bulletproof and that it is being ripped off before even *thinking* about trying it on.

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Anonymous Coward

@How about this

If you goal is to destroy the patent system, you've got some great ideas.

Compulsory licensing, with rates set by the patent office, means "we'll force you to sell it for a pittance". Why would I invest my time and effort creating the widget, if I don't then own it?

"Patent examiners are paid according to what they reject." As a patent examiner, I will now reject every application I work on out of hand. How naive.

I agree with prototypes.

Regarding term, I agree in principle but retroactive enforcement is a very slippery slope. It stops manufacturers from using concepts *just because* someone has applied for a patent. If I file a "bad" patent applicartion on your invention, it could take years for my app to be invalidated. In the meantime, you have to sit on your hands.

Annulment - so I come up with something really clever, and the govt seizes it. Where's my protection (protection is the purpose of a patent system). Rather, no law should be issued that relies on a proprietary solution.

Once I have published, you cannot demonstrate independent invention, except as prior art and that is already accounted for in the process.

Court annulments are the worst idea you've had here. First, judges are not technology experts and don't have the resources to be. And this suggests that if I try to enforce my valid patent, a judge can simply strip it from me. If you're my competitor, you'll intentionally violate my IP in the hopes that some backwoods judge will invalidate it.

I have 2 patents granted by the US patent office. If you've never done it, I highly recommend spending the thousands of dollars and years of effort a patent grant requires. It's a hell of an education.

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Coat

How about this? Err... not really

* All patents subject to compulsory, non-discriminatory licencing. (Patents exist to reward inventors for sharing things, not just thinking of them.)

+1 at AC: "Why would I invest my time and effort creating the widget, if I don't then own it?"

The main point of obtaining a patent is to deal in the invention as the patent owner sees fit. Where's the economical incentive to go through the process if they can't? One upstream from that: where's the economical incentive to spend on R&D if the results and the economic advantage they may confer can be grabbed and exploited by any competitor for free?

* Patent Office, not holder, sets royalty rates for aforementioned licencing, unless holder wishes it to be licenced gratis. (Prevents effective lock-out by setting stupid rates.)

A Patent Office's business is to examine and reject/grant IP rights, not value the economic contribution of inventions to which they relate (which may or may not be proportional to the amount of R&D invested)

* Patent examiners are paid according to what they reject. (Reduces temptation for examiners to grant frivolous patents.)

Patent Examiners are Civil servants paid according to scale. Anyhow, the last I checked (daily at the coal face), Patent Examiners do not grant 'frivolous patents'. They may have done in the US, but that time is well and truly gone, post-KSR. Thankfully (grudging admission, LOL!).

* No prototype => work of science fiction, not a proper patent application.

That's fine in a first-to-invent jurisdiction like the US, not so in a first-to-file jurisdiction (aka the rest of the world).

Read up on 'enabling disclosure': if I describe how to make a new and inventive widget X in my patent specification, and you can make one exactly like it just from reading it (which is the legal test), why should I be astrained to material costs in building a prototype as well if there is no need to? If widget X does not perform as described and claimed, then the disclosure is not enabling and the patent is invalid by reason of same. This is current (EP/US) law & practice, btw.

* Term of validity runs from date of filing, not date of award. (Prevents "submarine patents".)

Patent term generally runs from the date of filing. The US and some remote jurisdictions sometimes "top up" the term, usually because the USPTO has taken longer than average to prosecute the application. Only bio patents get specific extensions (not that long either) because their commercial exploitation timeframe is quite small relative to the term (time between application made and revenue actually starts).

Submarine patents pretty much ended when the US adopted the "publish-at-18-months" rule already in place everywhere else. There are exceptions (as for all good rules), which are a very small minority (usually relevant to weapons tech).

* Patent is annulled in event that it becomes a legal requirement (e.g. if someone holds a patent on a low-pollution / less hazardous version of a process which ends up being the only way to comply with a newly-introduced environmental / safety law). (Prevents effective privatisation of law.)

Provisions for compulsory licensing, to be used in situations you depict, are already in place in the legislation of most countries to remedy this issue (see e.g. 'Crown Use' in the UK).

* Demonstrably-independent invention is not breach of patent.

Pre-filing date (or reduction to practice in first-to-invent US), it's called a confidential disclosure, which by definition is not shared with the world in the manner a patent application is when published (which is why it does NOT invalidate a patent with a later filing date). Rights of earlier confidential independnent devisors are preserved in most jurisdictions (they can carry on infringing without liability, but e.g. can't license out).

Later devisors should improve upon the disclosed invention, that's the whole idea of the system. Why reinvent the wheel?

* Courts get power to annul patent and charge both sides costs, in event of a dispute. (Gives highly effective weapon against trolls by threatening to cut off revenue stream if abused.)

They already do. At least in most European jurisdictions. Assuming you mean "a Court can invalidates a patent found not new/inventive during a countersuit for revocation" (standard knee-jerk reaction to infringement proceedings), and a Court charges cost to the losing party or apportions costs to both parties for an 'in-between' decision (patent valid but not infringed, patent valid and partially infringed).

Mine's the one with the Rule 71(3) Communication in the pocket.

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How about getting rid of retarded, idiotic, useless US laws and the Patent Office?

Seriously: since when we allow patenting things a person HAVE NOT EVEN PRESENTED, manufactured etc but simply just thought of...?

This is complete bullshit, this is where this entire lunatic pantent-trolling and counter-registering cycle starts...

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One small point (@AC 12-2 15:54)

"Once I have published, you cannot demonstrate independent invention, except as prior art and that is already accounted for in the process."

Wrong. Say you've spent 5 years developing a widget and I've spent 5 years developing a similar widget. You go to press first, just a few weeks before I'm ready to. Should all my 5 years' work count for nothing just because you got yours out a short while before mine? No, A J Stiles is right on the money with that one - if I can prove I've been working on my invention independently prior to your patent grant, I have just as much right to reap the rewards of my efforts as you do yours (and showing R&D costs etc over the last 5 years would be the proof thereof).

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