back to article Corel re-animates zombie brand for patent case

Google, Motorola and Samsung are fielding new patent suits from Corel-owned Micrografx over graphics rendering, covering a slew of Android-based products as well as the Chocolate Factor's Google Maps. Micrografx – a brand that faded from view more than a decade ago after its acquisition by Corel – is claiming that both Samsung …

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It is nice to know that although the company has been gone for a long time and the technology is about as unique as teats on a cow; that the lawyers still have plenty of work.

Even if it takes them a decade to realize that someone might be using their property without permission I like knowing that papers are being filed, paralegals are being asked to stay late and get overtime and that somewhere there's a man whose well being is contingent on boxing up enough fax toner cartridges to keep the lawyers busy, turning the wheels of progress.

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See?

This is what happens when you let Attachmate buy Novell for a measley $2 billion. There is no settling with them either. They will just drag out another folder full and go again. Forever.

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Re: See?

That is Corel, not Novel. Different zombie trying to "leverage" its "glory days".

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Linux

I do believe...

In the vernacular of the internet this should say, "Can has munies now? "

Someday there will be a lawlpenguins.

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Sounds like OLE clipboard from 1990

Back in the Windows 3 days you could cut and paste OLE-aware objects, which were shapes that had their rendering performed by external apps.

One would hope that the examiner brought this up, so it would be useful to check the file wrapper before jumping to conclusions.

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Thumb Up

Re: Sounds like OLE clipboard from 1990

You just reminded me that I did something like this in the mid90s on Windows for Workgroups using Visual Basic.

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Boffin

It seems to me...

That the described patent only covers such shapes, that include rendering algorithms that perform part of the shape drawing. Now, unless they want to claim the patent also covers html with embedded javascript, regular vector images (like svg) shouldn't be covered either. The problem would be, perhaps, with autohinting algorithms, contained in some vector fonts (TTF), but I believe they both pre-date the patent in question and are covered by a bunch of separate patents.

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Mushroom

Destroy all patents. Start again.

This system ain't fixable, ain't curable, and requires a mercy shot to the head before it fucks anything else up in its rabid writhings.

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Amen to that !

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Re: Destroy all patents. Start again.

@M Gale:

Well said. I added my upvote to the 17 you had already.

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Joke

Re: Destroy all patents. Start again.

Dear M Gale,

I think you'll find that your proposal violates my patient on "a method or system for the destruction of obsolete systems or methods which may or may not involve a coup de grace..."

I'll see your patient-infringing ass in court!

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Mushroom

Nuisance fee, please.

Ka-ching!

Thank you, and see you soon.

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Nuisance fee

@Michael Thibault

Re: "see you soon" -- That's the problem, innit? If you pay it, they will come; again and again.

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Glad here in New Zealand we've made it so you can't patent software. These kinds of patents are just a waste of space.

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Strange tactics

Why would they start by attacking someone who obviously has more than enough money to fight back?

I think they are destined for a hiding.

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Re: Strange tactics

"Why would they start by attacking someone who obviously has more than enough money to fight back?"

Think of it as advertising for an auction:

"See how annoy... er, versatile these can be? And for less than the cost of litigation, these can all be yours if you buy us now!"

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In the meantime, do we still get to use Google Maps? How about competitors: Bing maps? OpenStreetMap?

The latter would greatly impact me as I use OpenStreetMap a lot.

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FAIL

Lots of prior art, surely.

Sigh. The claims sound like almost any computer graphics framework implemented in the past 30 years... in particular, Windows and its "metafiles" should be a good match.

I am sure that if Google bothers to fight it (instead of finding it cheaper to pay the ransom), they can shoot this down with tons of prior art

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Re: Lots of prior art, surely.

I expect Google will recognize that while it might be cheaper to pay off a single suit, opening themselves to constantly paying Dane Geld is a losing proposition, and it's better to make as big an example of the first troll that comes trawling as is possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Prior art in every C++ textbook

WMF probably doesn't cover it, because the shapes in WMF files don't contain any executable program code, just parameters for the standard Win32 GDI calls, but every C++ textbook I've ever read has illustrated object inheritance and derivation by an example shape class from which are derived various concrete shapes such as circles, rectangles etc., each with their own Draw() method. The '633 patent appears to be claiming the completely obvious idea of combining that with a plug-in style architecture for dynamically loading arbitrary new shape objects with their associated methods. Trivial and obvious and should never have been granted.

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Re: Lots of prior art, surely.

Windows and its "metafiles" should be a good match

Having just skimmed '633, I agree that it's basically a glorified graphics metafile. Metafiles are considerably older than the WMF format, though; they go back at least as far as the ANSI/ISO Computer Graphics Metafile standard (1986), and probably farther.

Some people are claiming that '633 specifically requires executable content in the "external shape" (the file), but here's a key quote from the patent:

Capabilities are action methods, symbol methods, or any other functions that allow the generation of information required to produce a graphical image.

What the patent calls "action methods" are actions: render, handle mouse input, etc. The "symbol methods" are properties: bounding box and that sort of thing. But "any other functions that allow the generation of information" is much too broad - it clearly could describe any graphics metafile format.

More generally, '633 just says "hey, we're going to load some code, and it's going to expose some interfaces that lets our app render some graphics". As others have pointed out, this is a well-established OS feature added to a commonplace OO-programming example. The rationale given in the patent is unconvincing. This patent is bogus and I hope the court throws it out.

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Dear Google

Fight this. Fight it and kill it stone dead.

For the love of software, you need to do it to prevent the next piece of patent hostage taking.

Don't settle. Paying ransom money just funds the next patent attack or hostage taking and encourages other firms to try it on.

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Re: "Paying ransom money [..] encourages other firms to try it on

Other firms, like . . . Google ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Paying ransom money [..] encourages other firms to try it on

I read that as your suggesting Google keeps attacking people with patents?

If so please name one non-defensive patent action Google or it's affiliates have taken? And don't say Microsoft/Motorola, those Redmond boys have systematically attacked Google by proxy in every way imaginable for the past fumfty years.

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Flame

Re: "Paying ransom money [..] encourages other firms to try it on

"those Redmond boys have systematically attacked Google by proxy"

On looking at the targets of the sueballs and the broadness/obviousness of the patents involved, my first thought was that this might be an MS inspired/funded action.

(Note to self: Order more tinfoil)

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Why can't companies focus on making a great product instead of all this litigation?

The only real winners here are the lawyers.

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How strange to see that name again

Micrografx being bought out by Corel was a shame. I hate it when software goes to Corel to die like that. At the time Micrografx was still around and selling their PicturePublisher 8 software, it was up to the job of going toe to toe with Photoshop. Sigh, I miss Micrografx. Maybe Corel just wanted all the patents Micrografx had back then.

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Re: How strange to see that name again

Micrografx Picture Publisher used to be my go-to software for image manipulation on Windows (back when getting scanners working on Linux through the parallel port pre-USB was a real pain). They used to allow personal use of their old versions of software, and it often came as part of the software bundle that came with a scanner as well.

Although I don't have a lot of Windows boxes around now, those that are in my control generally have MPP installed on them still.

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Re: How strange to see that name again

I remember Picture Publisher; I knew the founders of the original company, Astral, which was later bought by Micrografx later.

Back in the early 80s we all worked for a company that made one of the first CCD-based scanners, and we offered our own hardware and software to manipulate and output the images (to laser typesetters in those days). A few of the guys left and founded Astral to do the image processing, believing that those "new Windows computers" would be a better platform and the value was in the software. Guess who was right?

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That patent is so vague!

Patent 5,959,633 sounds like half the stuff I build!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That patent is so vague!

@Crisp:

"Launching patent lawsuit in three... two... one.... LAUNCH"

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Glory days

How can Corel relive their glory days when they didn't have any.

Apart from a brief period when Corel Draw was the choice of backstreet vinyl cutters everywhere?

Corel was where tolerable software went to die (a bit like Computer Associates)

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Re: Glory days

Corel Draw was a great product. I preferred it to the hideous Adobe Illustrator. And they did OK with Ventura Publisher for a while. It was my go to product for document production back before MS homogenized the hell out of everything. Ventura only went to shit when they decided to ape Adobe, which was not what I wanted. Of course, trying to drain me of too much money to frequently didn't help either.

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Anonymous Coward

SCO2?

I vaguely recall Microsoft making an "investment" in, or paying a settlement (over Word Perfect?) some time back. Shortly after, Corel Draw for both Mac and Linux became very hard to obtain and then finally became end of life. Could Corel be another puppet that will be used to fling lawsuits at companies that don't toe the Microsoft line?

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft investment in Corel.

'By this time, Microsoft, which had an interest in keeping WordPerfect afloat for antitrust reasons, had invested $135 million in Corel. According to Burney: "There is a contract that says we have to put the .Net framework into our major applications within six months of the release of .Net."

Shortly thereafter, Corel divested itself of its Linux distribution, and discontinued support for WordPerfect and CorelDraw on Linux. It has been assumed by many that this was an unwritten condition of Microsoft's investment in Corel`.

http://www.itpro.co.uk/604461/xandros-buys-linspire--what-does-it-mean-for-linux/page/0/1

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Kipling said it all

And the poem is called "Danegeld". Leslie Fish wrote a quite catchy tune for it.

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Re: Kipling said it all

@Dave Bell

If they are going to act like those Danes, then maybe we should geld them.

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Only one way to fix this

Allow people who pursue nuisance lawsuits to be countersued. In the US, you can sue without fear of reprisal, providing you don't falsify evidence, lie under oath, etc (ie, make the legal system seem like the ass it is). So one can sue the phone company just to piss off the phone company and get them bad press, then just withdraw the suit and go away, or settle out of court because it will be cheaper for them. Now, if the sue-er and the sue-er's lawyer have to face risk if the court deems the case ridiculous, you'd cut down on a lot of this. Likewise, if a group of non-lawyers were able to remove lawyers from practicing (the ABA is a joke), that would cut it down even further.

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Re: Only one way to fix this

They already have such laws against pointless cases:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frivolous_litigation

Sadly the courts seem to be happier to just let it all go by - maybe they're making a profit for the government off the big companies when it comes to the court fees...

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Anonymous Coward

A blast from the past.

"Vector Capital (SCO)"

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1102542/000104746904002142/a2127332zex-10_8.htm

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