back to article Sued for using HTTPS: Big brands told to cough up in crypto patent fight

Scores of big brands – from AT&T and Yahoo! to Netflix, GoPro and Macy's – are being sued because their HTTPS websites allegedly infringe an encryption patent. It appears in May this year CryptoPeak Solutions, based in Longview, Texas, got its hands on US Patent 6,202,150, which describes "auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable …

Here is my suggestion to fix this ludicrous aspect of the American way.

1. You must file your lawsuit within 1 year of discovering that the patent may be infringed. The one year is deemed to start as soon as it is deemed that a person in that knowledge field would have a reasonable chance of discovering the infringement. Beyond the 1 year the litigants have to prove the infringement and pay all costs. If they lose they have to pay the other parties the same amount they were claiming.

2. If it is a technology that government endorses for national security, then they must sue the government on behalf of the people and can not sue businesses or private individuals. Rules for 1 may still apply.

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>Here is my suggestion to fix this ludicrous aspect of the American way.

Quit letting lawyers write the laws. Then the point might be more to serve the public interest instead of generating billable hours. Isn't it great how one profession gets to put an innovate tax on every other profession?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear America, please have a nuclear civil war

One of the last ECC patents only expired recently.

Imagine a graph of Y=X^2 (ECC maths is modulo over an integer field, but this is just for visuals.)

If I give you valid X,Y coordinates they *uniquely* identify a point on the graph.

I can save transmission space by only sending you X, plus a single bit: 0 = left of graph, 1 = right.

Given X+boolean you can lookup missing Y yourself.

That was the patent. Some GCSE-level applied maths. All software patents are this stupid.

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Anonymous Coward

> American way

It's interesting to read about the various nations involved in establishing the foundation of this system.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_patent_law

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@asdf

There's a big problem here. I like the idea but most CongressCritters are lawyers. Some of the biggest lobbyists are lawyer associations. Conflict of interest? I think so. Be we here in the States get lawyers for candidates usually. Sure, there's the odd doctor, etc. but mostly... lawyers.

At the risk of incurring the pedantic wrath of some.. I'll invoke Shakespeare's "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" concept.

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Re: @asdf

Slightly modify that statement

Kill all the lawyers who are politicians, (then all the lawyers)

That might prevent a few from thinking that Hardard Law, Law Firm, Partner with corner office, Politician, President/Govenor

is their ONLY career path.

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Childcatcher

Personal Liability

Beyond the 1 year the litigants have to prove the infringement and pay all costs. If they lose they have to pay the other parties the same amount they were claiming.

It will have to be made abundantly clear that it will be the litigants themselves and not some corporate shell that has to pay, otherwise the weasels will squirm out of any sort of responsibility.

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Re: Personal Liability

Or just give judges the power to debar lawyers for being involved in bringing a "bloody stupid" case to court.

More seriously, this is why software patents are bloody stupid and should never, ever be granted.

This is a patent on basic maths. It should never have been granted.

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Re: @asdf

@Steve Davies 3

Kill all the lawyers who are politicians, (then all the lawyers)

insert applicable Bender comment - Then kill all humans. Oh, wait...

The 1%! it's in their blood. But just remember that there is always a 1% at the top, no matter how many times you remove it, there is always a 1% at the top.

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Anonymous Coward

can't we just say the principal/founder/owner of the non-performing entity, and their chief legal person, have to explain to a court, without a script, how the thing works, and accept Q&A?

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g e

Or, more simply

Make their complaint dependent upon stating the damages they intend to pursue.

Then force them to deposit half that amount PER CASE LODGED with the State to be able to proceed.

They win they get their cash back plus whatever they're awarded. They fail, the defendant gets to walk away with it.

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Re: Personal Liability

Beyond the 1 year the litigants have to prove the infringement and pay all costs.

The key point is that the litigants should pay all reasonable costs of the defense, so that they cannot legally bully a smaller or weaker company. I'd suggest that they be required to file all legal bills with the court as they are received, with payment of an equal amount into court for use by the defense, released to the defense on presentation of its bills. Any failure to do so, any delaying tactics, would be reason for the court to place the case on hold or even to dismiss it. Also give the court powers to allow the litigants to be ordered to pay for any onerous obligations which its actions place on the defendants.

Should the litigation succeed all these moneys paid to the defense would be added to the damages awarded. Should the litigation fail the defense won't be out of pocket (so long as it hasn't employed outrageously expensive lawyers compared to the litigants). Note: this might leave the litigants out of pocket if they bankrupt the defendants. That's OK. If they're genuine businesses rather than patent trolls, the cost of bankrupting their infringing competitors will be worth it. However, trolling will be all but eliminated, as trolls realize that they need a very strong case, and that if they have one it makes sense to press it against the financially strongest opponent not the weakest.

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Stop

Here is my suggestion to fix this ludicrous aspect of the American way.

Pretty numptyish solutions to the problem.

1) "person in that knowledge field" is an even more difficult term than the "reasonable person" making an obvious discovery. If you look at the history of patents most abuse has come from large companies with more resources than patent holders. What you suggest would further entrench this system.

2) don't encourage even more litigation. In such an unlikely situation then the government should simply license the relevant patents.

The problems with the US patent system are well known: patents in too many fields are granted too readily and the courts, notably the one in east Texas then get to deliberate on their validity.

The US patent system must be overhauled so that it is sufficiently resourced to check patents. In the case of some of the vaguer software and business patents, which are the ones that cause most of the problems, applicants could be required to demonstrate specific applications. Because it is often the blanket application of a relatively minor patent across a whole field that causes problems. Cf. this one and the website plugin one. The patent clerks should have the authority to reject these applications on sight – though applicants should also have the right to appeal.

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Re: Or, more simply

>Then force them to deposit half that amount PER CASE LODGED with the State to be able to proceed.

Bloody stupid idea.If I owned a patent how would I stop the likes of Apple, Samsung or any other mega coporation stealing my idea safe in the knowledge that I wouldn't be able to afford to do anything about it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @asdf

Kill all the lawyers who are politicians, (then all the lawyers)

Ahh, but there's even a law against that! See, covering their backs.

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Re: Dear America, please have a nuclear civil war

"That was the patent. Some GCSE-level applied maths. All software patents are this stupid."

Future lawyers stopped listening in GCSE maths once it got past multiplying two numbers together and adding the result to a total, then rounding up at the end.

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Re: @asdf -Sure, there's the odd doctor, etc.

There is one named Carson who seems determined to convince us that doctors would be worse than lawyers.

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Re: Personal Liability

So what happens when a big business starts using an individual's patented invention without paying? This would make the law only work for the big guys.

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I've got a better fix

Scrap software patents and business process patents. They're so beyond ludicrous that it would be funny if not for the economic damage they do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Europe, please have a nuclear civil war

So please explain to me the legal "taxes" that your countries place on American corporations for the sheer audacity of existing or even making a product that none of you ever thought to create or perhaps that we made a better one that you all prefer to use? Is that any less stupid and protectionist?

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Pint

Re: I've got a better fix

Scrap software patents and business process patents. They're so beyond ludicrous that it would be funny if not for the economic damage they do.

+1

Have an upvote, mate. This is the only logical step forward out of all the retarded machinations that appeared above.

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I think patent law should have a use-it-or-lose-it clause, which would apply only to patents issued to businesses and not patents issued to real living breathing persons. A use-it-or-lose-it clause would kill patent trolls.

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It's actually more of Texas way issue or more specifically the court district located in Houston.

Nearly all claims are made in that district. Same with many mass tort claims.

The bar to winning in that district is pretty low, although a high percentage are thrown out a the appellate level.

Texas is always talking of seceding ( at least when oil prices are high).

Easy solution to the problem is to let them go.

Added benefit of insuring cruz can't be president.

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Q&A

Q: What do you call 1000 patent lawyers at the bottom of a deep lake

A: a decent start.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Europe, please have a nuclear civil war

Actually the UK developed public/private key encryption first but restricted it under the offical secrets act, some say the US took their work and passed on to private interests.

At best even if we assume seperate developement of the technology then by rights the US version should never have been allowed to be patented at all making all patents based after the UK work moot.

Patents are supposed to only cover innovation and clearly once the concept of double key encryption became known then the key calculation is always going to be just basic math.

The US system of allowing pretty much any patent though to force those abused to go to court in the US is intented to be a money spinner and to allow the existance fo trolls.

Personally I would make all holders of USPO patents refile and require they identify exactly what is innovation, if it turns out to have been just common knowledge at the time of the original patent then it become public domain as it should always have been.

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Happy

Re: @asdf

At the risk of incurring the pedantic wrath of some.. I'll invoke Shakespeare's "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" concept.

Another good one is, "We need lawyers to get us out of trouble that we wouldn't be in in the first place, if it wasn't for lawyers."

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Re: Personal Liability

Sears already did that in a wrench case. They also did something similar with Windshield wiper blades.

Apparently they have a long history of taking the devices they have been shown (patent applied for) and making small changes and filing new patents on

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Patent office should be more than a simple revenue generating agency

>The US patent system must be overhauled so that it is sufficiently resourced to check patents.

Bingo. As it is, the lawyers running the US government are more than happy to take anyone's money and then let their firms and buddies in the private sector get rich fighting it out in the courts which was my point originally what the problem is. By they way just so we are clear it was not me that advocated for murder. The torch and pitchfork mob ran with that later in the thread.

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The State of Texas uses that crypto too and should join the fray....

So tempted to write their lawyers a letter pointing out the use of such crypto by the state in which they filed such a frivolous suit should by all rights earn that state a place on the list of defendants... IANAL, but somewhere there's a professor at a state university that would no doubt like to enjoin into the action.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Q&A

Q: what do you call a 59 out of 60 seats bus full of East Texas patent lawyers going off a cliff?

A: one missed opportunity

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Anonymous Coward

Here's a better one, revert to previous non-batshitcrazy patent laws of the pre 50's....

Oh yeah and nix Intellectual Property rights too, that nonsense has to end before we have to pay to walk, breath and express an opinion on anything !

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Re: Dear Europe, please have a nuclear civil war

"Actually the UK developed public/private key encryption first but restricted it under the offical secrets act"

It was done by a guy named Clifford Cocks, who developed what we now wrongly call RSA. In another parodox of official idiocy, RS&A won the Turing prize for rediscovering Cocks's work.

Though I had a dig at lawyers above, I have to say that they are nowhere near as good at obstructing progress as civil servants.

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@midcapwarrior

You do realize this is a Federal court, right? That means it has nothing to do with Texas other than location. The judge was appointed by a president (didn't bother looking up which one) and confirmed by Congress. Generally this is a slam dunk political payback, although the candidates typically look good on paper.

Texans should look a little closer at their history, specifically 1836-1845, to see how secession would go even if it was not contested by the US. Those were tough times economically, politically and militarily for the Republic.

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Re: Personal Liability

"give judges the power to debar lawyers"

Unfortunately, those judges were all once lawyers. Professional courtesy, doncha know ..

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> to see how secession would go

as mentioned before that talk only comes up when oil prices are high (like Scotland too I guess). If oil prices stay high enough long enough to make that a possibility then Texas leaving probably will be only one of our problems.

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Simpler solution

Flamethrowers

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Re: Personal Liability

This is a patent on basic maths.

No, it isn't. Did you actually read it?

What's claimed is a cryptographic protocol, which involves the use and interpretation of various mathematical constructs. (Whether they're "basic" is debatable, but I suspect that at least a few readers would feel that, for example, "Authority 1 then verifies that(g1/Y) is a generator of Z*2q" goes a bit beyond what they consider "basic".)

Saying it's a patent on "maths" is like saying a patent for an internal-combustion engine is a patent on physics. It's a category error of the first water.

Of course, the patent has little or nothing to do with ECC, and the new owners' claims are bogus. But the invention being patented does appear, at first glance, to have been novel at the time. And it addresses a problem which I for one may not particularly care about (private-key escrow), but which some people (snoops) do.

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can't we just say the principal/founder/owner of the non-performing entity, and their chief legal person, have to explain to a court, without a script, how the thing works, and accept Q&A?

Sure. And before any surgeons can start cutting, the CEO of the hospital has to explain the procedure.

Pharmacists shouldn't be able to sell medicine unless they can explain its means of operation.

Plumbers: not an inch of tubing or a single fitting until you answer this quiz on fluidics!

No one shall be allowed to write code until they can demonstrate an understanding of 1) the behavior of charges in semiconductors, 2) the design of modern CPUs, 3) algorithms for resource allocation in modern OSes, and 4) lambda calculus.

The anti-patent ranting here is mining some impressive new veins of stupidity.

Yeah, yeah. Downvote away. My three-year-old granddaughter enjoys her tantrums, too.

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Pharmacists shouldn't be able to sell medicine unless they can explain its means of operation.

That is the law in most of the world You cannot run a pharmacy unless you have a pharmacy degree which entails you learning how medicines operate in a medical school for 5+ years. The fact that it is not the case in the USA is a historical anomaly.

Plumbers: not an inch of tubing or a single fitting until you answer this quiz on fluidics!

They do. At least here (UK). Some of the questions to get Corgi (the gas board) cert are from that area. I wish they did elsewhere too (I am having some serious soil pipework issues at my summer house in another Eu country where they do not - they f*** it up so it creates a classic "hydraulic shock" plunger every time you flush which f*** up the toilet gaskets).

And I am not going to go into details in how many countries the CEO of a hospital has to be an MD so he can actually explain the details of an operation.

The overall ineptitude of people in their trade in particular countries (namely USA) and especially the patent lawyers there (99% will fail every single one of the 6 EPO exams you need to pass to do patent law practice in the Eu) does not mean that everywhere around the world everyone is similarly inept.

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Unhappy

Re stu 18

Or just put all patent trolls before a firing squad.

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Re: Re stu 18

And post the execution on YouTube as an example and warning to other patent trolls...

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Re: Re stu 18

Or a variation of the American classic of tar and feathers, dousing in kerosene and lit with a match.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re stu 18

Don't put it on YouTube. People might get you confused with a group of kids playing Ninja, and do something stupid about it. :(

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Re: Re stu 18

I think public floggings, or to be more specific, caning would be perfectly suitable for punishment of the trolls.

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Re: Re stu 18

Then the video gets taken down by other trolls, via DMCA takedown :)

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Re: Re stu 18

I'm afraid I have a patent that covers the "deterring of undesirables (including, but not limited to, trolls, idiots and commentards) using exothermic reactions (literal or metaphorical) and photoelectric or mechanical capture and recall mechanisms". Payment is accepted in non-sequentially numbered barrels of Doombar or Guinness.

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Re: Re stu 18

Personally, I prefer the rodent crontrol methods used in the '60s by certain social groups in London:

'Nice patent you got there, pity if it got broken. Bigger pity if you was holding it when it got broken.'

Also, it is quite difficult to turn up in court when your head is nailed to a warehouse floor.

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Re: Re stu 18

Or patent the process on how to be a patent troll and then sue them.

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Re: Re stu 18

Or just put all patent trolls before a firing squad.

That's just a waste of perfectly good lead. Too quick too, given the long, drawn out torture that patent trolls put people through.

Hmm... drawn... now there's a thought! Fetch me four horses, some lengths of rope and a sharp blade!

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"Some people might even call it a "patent troll.""

Nicely weaselled there, El Reg. Are we not allowed to call people patent trolls anymore? Is "dickheads" still OK?

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