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back to article Single-patent lawsuit hits Apple, Google, Amazon, Priceline...

A Texas-based company known as H-W Technology has sued Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Verizon, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, and 20 other companies and sister companies, claiming infringement of a single patent. And this is not April's Fool prank. This sort of thing goes on all the time in Texas …

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Pirate

FFS

is there anything that this patent doesn't cover...maybe if I get it to make toast as well it won't be covered. Just shows how rotten to the core the US patent system is

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FFS indeed.

I've had another one of my "Great ideas". (pat. pending)

Why don't we let the septics carry on with their litigious ways, while we in the rest of the world just carry on ignoring them?

The EU and Asian markets are far larger, and must surely be less of a worry to sell to. UK patents, I believe, only apply to tangible things, not vague block diagrams or "a means of" bullshit.....

Everything is made in China these days anyway. They don't seem so worried. If the yanks ban all imports of "possibly infringing" goods, they will soon have nothing left to buy.

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Anonymous Coward

China aren't worried at all.

"Everything is made in China these days anyway. They don't seem so worried. If the yanks ban all imports of "possibly infringing" goods, they will soon have nothing left to buy."

America wouldn't dare block Chinese imports, China might ask for it's loans back and that would pretty much bankrupt the USA. Why do you think they're doing nothing more then moaning about China fiddling the exchange rates?

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Anonymous Coward

Miss the Mark As Usual in Bashing China

Demanding their loans back would also bankrupt China. In fact it would have such a serious effecton overall global stability that it may bankrupt us all.

Regarding China fiddling with their exchange rates. It is actually the oposit. China has kept their exchange rates stable as they should. What we are doing is asking or rather demanding that China fiddle with their exchange rates to make our goods more competitive, or rather to make China produced goods less competitive.

Purchasing power parity theory on which Real Effective Exchange Rates and related theories are based is a nice elegant theory. But thats all it is. It has not been shown empirically to hold true between major economies at least not in any horizon less than 8 years and at best very weakly.

If the Chinese Govt. devalues their currency to increase their competitiveness then we would have a point. But that they have kept it stable in spite if their increase competitiveness over the past decades is not something we should knock them for. It is not the value of the Chinese currency that drives their competitiveness. So why do we try to bully them into appreciating their currency to make us more competitive.

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Problem

The trouble with letting the septics get on with their ways is that their ways are being introduced as "standard" elsewhere. They have huge, well funded lobbying machines that try to force their way on other countries.

So be afraid, because that kind of bullshit can, and probably will, become standard in the UK. And Canada. And elsewhere, because there's huge profits to be made from having such a broken system, and profit at the expense of everything is all that matters to those doing the lobbying, and sometimes to those passing the laws.

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Toaster Oven?

Hey, people like toasters, and they like ovens, maybe I should file a patent for something that is both a toaster and an oven.

This is about as creative as TiVo's patent for a dual-tuner DVR, upon which they successfully claimed infringement by Dishnetwork. [imagine Brian Regan recounting a patent-mining session] Uh, OK... people like DVRs. So, I have a patent idea… TWO, …TWO DVRs. Yeah, two – that's my patent.

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Troll

1 Another proof that the USA patents/copyright law is completly broken.

2. The suing company is a patetns troll Shut the company down and jail all owners for life.

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No no - much to good for them.

"Shut the company down and jail all owners for life."

Send them to the scorpion pits.

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FAIL

error

we can't send them to the scorpion pits. they own the patent on those too.

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Happy

No, their mistake.

Only the Patrician owns the scorpion pits.

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I know!

We could rip off Chairface Chippendale's idea and put them into a pit full of alligators and cows.

MOO! HISS! MOO! HISS!

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Sue the USPTO, not the companies

The USPTO will continue to crank out crap patents until they get to be held responsible. Uncle Sam loves them because they actually generate federal income. The only measure being applied to the USPTO is number processed and how much cash they generate.

If the USPTO had to bear the costs of defending crap patents then the quality might improve.

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OFFS, what a bunch of overly broad BS that is

That's a ridiculously broad patent definition, they are not *supposed* to be that broad in the first place, and the court should *never* have accepted the case, it's pure BS and frivolous.

The sooner someone ends the patent system nightmare with some sweeping legislation the better, because until then this kind of patent troll behavior will continue.

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<null>

This is one reason Americans put Canadian flags on their luggage.

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Joke

</null>

>>This is one reason Americans put Canadian flags on their luggage.

Do you know an American with a passport?

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Bad luck breacher's

Unfortunately for everyone commenting, I patented 'communicating with others via some kind of sign or sound' a little while ago in the US.

See you all in court.

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Troll

Prior art

Dear Sir,

I see that you are infringing our client's patent covering 'the patenting of anything'. Our client is however prepared to settle the matter out of court for a mere $100 billion.

Dr. A. Troll,

Billy, Goat & Gruff, Attorneys at Law

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Troll

@ Dr A Troll....

..feel free. As I own the patent on the method of receiving payments from a court for infringements of patent, I will then sue you for infringement. As you are willfully infringing my patent I claim 3x your award and fees.

As I also own the method patent of defending agains a patent lawsuit, so therefore willingly defending yourself will also result in a wifull breach of patent, so therefore, we will sue you for that as well.

Yours lovingly.

A.S.S. Wipe and Sons.

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Stop

Before people go off on one...

The actual granted patent claim is a little bit more specific: see the pdf at <a href="http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=US&NR=7525955B2&KC=B2&FT=D&date=20090428&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_gb" target="_blank">espacenet</a>.

That said, it'll be destroyed by at least one of these companies; but the US patent troll system has definitely got out of hand...

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Said Document

I went and had a look at the drawings (well, lots of blocks) on the given link. Seems as if they took the books Computer Networks by Tanenbaum and Computer networks and internets by Comer and said " Ooh, pretty pictures! Lets combine the chapters on VOIP and then patent our new drawings in the hope that one day we can sue the pants off everybody in the VOIP market".

Oh look!!! It worked!!!!

Stupid US patent system

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WTF?

Prior art?

If my memory serves me right, first Windows Mobile phones appeared before 2005, and PalmOS phones even before that. Both had internet browsing capability. And of course every phone since the dawn of sms could be used to receive advertisements and perform purchases without making a call.

I hope someone in the jury remembers "AvantGo"...

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Prior art

The Nokia 9000 communicator had web browsing facilities in 1996.

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Flame

Prior Art?

No, you hope at least one of the lawyers representing all those various companies defending themselves against this patent troll remembers "AvantGo"...

Flames, hoping the patent troll goes down in flames...

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AvantGo as Prior Art

Doesn't matter if the jury remembers AvantGo - the defense attorneys need to present that as evidence. Jurors aren't really permitted to consider facts that are not presented as part of the case.

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Seriously

Every time you think the last patent brouhaha was the most stupid one, someone else comes tops it...

Bunch of muppets

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FAIL

It's not just the US patent system that's broken.

A guy in Australia applied for an innovation patent for a wheel.

<http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn965-wheel-patented-in-australia.html>

They're claiming it won't stand up in court if he actually tried it, but that doesn't appear to matter anymore.

Give us money, we give you patent number.

What you do after that is your bloody business, we sure as hell don't care.

How can things possibly get any more broken than this?

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FAIL

What about suing Al Gore...

..for starting this mess?

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Go

This Is Great News!

I mean, the more totally retarded patent claims that we see against the major tech incumbents the better. Hopefully, with enough of these lawsuits being filed a tipping point will be reached and US patent reform will become a real issues to the powers that be.

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Flame

Just one question

What does H-W Technology produce ?

The basis, the very reason of existence of the patent system is to protect the owner for a limited time during which said owner can profit from his idea by bringing said idea to the market before anyone else.

So, where are the H-W Technology mobile phones ? Has anyone seen them ?

I don't think so. I think this "company" is just another troll, a wart on the economical system that should be excised with liquid nitrogen.

The very first check from a judge on any patent claim should be "does the complainant make anything with his patent". If not, hit him with contempt of court charges and throw him out.

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Prior art, definately. Thirty years old, even.

I was making VOIP telephone calls with my Sun Workstation in ~1982 on equipment that could definitely view adverts & make purchases without making said voice call. Wirelessly, even, in some cases.

This was IBM's world-wide internal network, which was vastly larger than the then fledgling Internet[1]. The adverts & purchases were from inside sales (with a little help from ComDesign & N.E.T).

All a smart-phone + telephone network is is a scaled down version of the same thing. I'll be shocked if the judge allows this to proceed past pre-trial motions.

[1] I had full access to said Internet from the same system ... IBM's network connection in my office was T-3 ... my Internet connection was Switched-56. I could make a voice call over the Switched-56, or I could move data, but not both at the same time ... The T-3 was a trifle more flexible, allowing dynamic bandwidth allocation & time division multiplexing for voice, data and video :-)

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WTF!

So they have basically patented the amstrad emailer 5 years after it went on sale?

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Prior art?

The biggest problem with the US patent system is that the patent examiners only think that "Prior Art" (the basis for allowing claims and such) is previous patents. In the case of software, there is LOADS of "prior art" that exists that is NOT patented. The patent examiners don't deal with this at all, and something that is unknown to the examiner, but is common knowledge to us computer guys, is treated as "novel" and a patent is issued.

While not the cause for the problem, the court of the eastern district of Texas is a nightmare. Wonderful courts to be a plaintiff.

(*SIGH*)

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Not a snowball's chance...surely?

Presumably, somwhere in their archives, Google have records of searches made from Pocket Internet Explorer dating back to - what - 2000? And when did Amazon first think about a 'mobile' site? Only after they stole H-W's brilliantly original ideas in '05? C'mon.

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Headmaster

What is claimed

The key bit of the claim seems to be using the IP phone to buy from a merchant "wherein [the] user's contact and payment information is not transmitted to [the] merchants [but this] information is available to [the] merchants" (legalese stripped for readability)

So much narrower than "its a smartphone".

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FAIL

re: What is claimed

I can't be bothered to read the actual patent application, but I'm pretty sure a phone with a web browser using 1-click or similar will instantly satisfy demonstration of prior art.

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Very possibly...

... although, could you do such a thing in 2005? (I'm not really up with mobile technologies)

But I wasn't claiming that the patent was valid or even a good idea. Just that, as always, there is more to these things than even an august journal like El Reg would have you think.

I know that reading patent applications is mind-numbingly dull (you wouldn't want to do it for a living ... oh, hang on ... that's where I went wrong) but I do think the article could have been just a wee bit more specific about what the patent is actually for.

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Anonymous Coward

re: could you do such a thing in 2005?

I'm not au fait with mobile stuff either, a quick search suggests you could probably do this sort of thing in 2002, but as you say, the devil is in the detail.

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FAIL

This is good ... very good

As the claims get more and more obvious they begin to expose how stupid the patent system has become and the more unacceptable it becomes to everyone...

If all those diagrams showing all those processes are relevant to its application then won't they have a devil of a time matching them up to actual processes used by the other companies?

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Joke

Jury Duty

Has anyone ever tried to bribe their way *into* Jury Duty? I want to know if I'll be setting a precedent or not.

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Stop

Get Off your High Horses

Why dont all u fuck wits just get off your high horses. If u came up with a great idea (unlikely I know) and u went to the trouble and expense of patenting it, and then the likes of Apple decided to use your idea to make a few million are u saying u wouldn't have a problem with that ??

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Grenade

Brain dead or troll?

Are you a completely brain dead? If this company had come up with an original idea and then people stole it fine but they didn't, they patented something that already existed then decided to sue 6 years later. As someone who has held patents myself I very much have a problem with that, they're ruining the system for the rest of us.

I've had a great idea. I'm going to patent "a system of moving by placing one foot in front of the other" then sue the entire human race for walking!

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FAIL

No idea...

The problem is that this isn't "come up with a great idea". It is patenting ideas that have already been used and brought to market YEARS before the patent was applied for, by a bunch of different companies. There IS NOTHING NEW in this patent...not even at the time it was filed.

This is just a bunch of lawyers patenting any idea they can get approved, and then filing lawsuits against 20 companies and hoping that one or more will settle out of court for cash, rather than spend money on lawyers defending themselves. It's a "get rich quick" scheme for IP lawyers, and one that has been used before, many times.

Basically, if you can't see that, you are an idiot.

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Headmaster

Solutions, not ideas

Patents should be about solutions, not ideas.

Anyway, H-W Technology have not come up with a great idea, they've merely stated both what was already happening and what was clear to a doughnut what was in the process of happening.

Oh, and please use proper words - so u (sic) Dont (sic) loof so daft ??

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Get your facts straight Dave

So are you saying the Iphones and Arnold smart phones that breach this patent all came out pre 1995 ?? Did u actually read the patent ?? I know most people commenting could not be bothered to. the first internet phone was 1996 "http://blog.brightcove.com/en/2009/03/first-internet-phone-circa-1996" So there was NO PRIOR ART. And the early wap phones certainly couldn't do one click payments. Just because u think something has been around forever doesn't mean it has.

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Get your facts straight Brian

This patent was filed on 17 March 2005; phones that could use the IP protocol (for searching and advertising and loads of other stuff) were available long before then. In the UK the O2 XDA (manufactured by HTC, a real company that really makes phones) was launched in June 2002 so presumably this counts as prior art?

This patent is vague, obvious, based on existing technology and probably filed by people who couldn't make a damn thing if their lives depended on it!

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@Brian 6

"the first internet phone was 1996"

Uh ... no. It wasn't. I, personally, was making telephone calls world-wide over TCP/IP in late 1982 or thereabouts[1]. And with my Motorola Dynatac about a year later ... and during the meanwhile, the Sun Workstation in my office could switch between voice, data & video, at random, as I saw fit, in the same time frame (maybe a year or so later).

And yes, I could "one click" on IBM's "internal sales" offerings, thus re-supplying my group ... It wasn't today's WWW, but it acted exactly the same way.

[1] Yes, I know, FlagDay came later ... My group was an early TCP/IP adopter ;-)

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Boffin

R U confusing 1995 & 2005

Who mentioned 1995? You admit there's been internet phones since 1996. This patent was filed in 2005.

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Grenade

I shall remain seated on my high horse, thank you!

as I have a patent to my name (together with a number of colleagues) based on doing research, and getting something to work as a solution to a problem. In the patent application, there is a clear distinction between prior art used by our patent, and the novel idea. This was needed because it went through the European (Dutch) patenting system, in which prior art is investigated properly. As such the patent is worth more than the paper on which it is printed, unlike the H-W "effort". It was consequently bought from the university by a start-up company.

Trying to patent the bleeding obvious, let alone the previously existing is waste of everybody's time.

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@OLD TOM Read My POSTS

Read my posts and the actual patent. The internet enabled phones of the mid 90's in no way breached this patent. I was just acknowledging that they existed, but AS I SAID, they DIDNT breach this 2005 patent. Dont u remember how crap WAP phones were ?

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@Jake

No names, no details, pure bullshit. And U personally never owed a Motorola Dynatac. They didnt come out until after u said u owed one, and u couldn't afford one anyway, and that phone could do NOTHING mentioned in the Patent in question.

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