back to article IBM drops patent bomb on Priceline.com

IBM is taking discount leisure travel service Priceline.com to court claiming patent infringement. The global systems giant alleges that Priceline infringed on four of IBM's patents in the running of its websites, among them restaurant reservation service OpenTable and travel-booking agent Kayak.com. Big Blue is seeking …

  1. LosD

    Are times really so bad at IBM that they've started doing patent trolling?

    With the arsenal they have, we are all doomed if this is becoming the new IBM.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      FAIL

      IBM a patent troll?

      Sorry, no.

      Just because you don't like the fact that IBM is suing someone for protecting their IP.. tough.

      First Priceline... then Google... ;-)

      The point is that IBM isn't a patent troll, they still make and sell products.

      If you don't like the lawsuit, maybe you should figure out why the patent itself should be outlawed. Software Patents was a bad thing. Patent reform was blocked by Reid in the Senate under Obama. Maybe now we could move ahead?

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: IBM a patent troll?

        I can already figure out why the patents themselves should be outlawed.

        They are all obvious.

        These are the sorts of problems developers solve day in day out and they are no more worthy of patent protection than the exact piping route a plumber uses to fix a new tap.

        IBM know this. IBM are doing this anyway. It is wrong.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM a patent troll?

        IBM is a patent troll, they have been for years. They produce many patents that are never incorporated into products. They even actively encourage employees to participate in patent brainstorming sessions where patents are thought up for the sole purpose of filling them with the patent office with no serious thought with regard to building a product around them.

        I say this as a former IBMer myself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IBM a patent troll?

          All big tech firms like patents. Employees get targets for them and bonuses.

      3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: IBM a patent troll?

        I've added a link to the court document + the patents involved. Enjoy.

        C.

  2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

    The patents "...cover a setting up a user account with single-sign-on in a federate computing environment; a way to present applications as an interactive service; a method for presenting advertising as an interactive service; and a way to preserve state information between a client and server."

    I could code-up any one of those before lunch, and I'm not even a coder drone.

    1. Jyve

      Re: Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

      Can't see clearly on other sites what the patents actually do apart from being;

      "do something that everyone did for years on computers, but do it on the internet".

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

        That's perfectly legal in US patents.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

          Not according to the Supreme Court ruling in Alice v. CLS Holdings.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        BINGO...Re: Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

        @Jyve

        Dont blame IBM. Blame the USPTO.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

      I doubt that Jeffy.

      (Build it from scratch.)

    3. Craig Cruden

      Re: Invention versus Description of the Bleedingly Obvious

      They are going the way of TSG (SCO) which turned itself from a business into a patent troll in a matter of a year or so. IBM's normal business line is quickly shrinking, and they are turning themselves into going after companies for dubious at best patents.

  3. gerdesj Silver badge

    How to make friends

    Given the titles of the patents, it would seem this is a test case for IBM before they get cracking on the really big boys.

  4. 27escape

    Surprising

    As they used to get along so well

    http://www-03.ibm.com/software/businesscasestudies/us/en/corp?synkey=G880661M72373R00

    1. Frank Bitterlich
      Terminator

      Re: Surprising

      Yep... "Success Starts Here"...

      "... and if you have finally succeeded, we'd like to have the money you have earned. Thank you."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surprising

        They obviously dropped Lotus Domino and Notes, amazing the time it takes for IBM to demand a full audit after that.

        Anon as IBM audits are hideous especially when you can prove you are no longer using said software or hardware.

  5. Indolent Wretch

    Done a lot of good things IBM sad to seem them acting like disgusting parasites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, apart from helping the Nazis track the Jews and which concentration camp to send them to.

      IBM's original products were punched card systems and they were shipped to Germany even though they knew what they were up to.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        FAIL

        I love how this one always comes up. IBM's very own instance of Godwins law.

  6. td97402

    ^@#$&*^@#$* Software Patents

    I've been saying it for years now and I'll keep on saying it; software patents are evil. We got along for years with software copyrights. The PC revolution would have never happened if software patents were allowed back then and IBM had a patent on BIOS. Only a few countries in the world even allow software patents. Software patents need to be abolished.

    Just because you wrote some trivial bit of code and can describe it in vague language so as to obtain a patent should not prevent the rest of us, having never seen your product (if there even is one) let alone its code, from coding the same obvious solution from scratch.

    If you spend time and money on software coding then copyright it and then I can either license it or spend time and money to program my own code. That should be protection enough!

  7. Nick 6

    Depends on the date

    IF the patents were applied for when these aspects of the web were genuinely new, and they really did invent them, then I see these in a slightly better light than the 'pure play' patent trolls. Just because it now seems blindingly obvious and quintessential to everyone's web sites, doesn't mean it wasn't invented.

    Gah, sounds like i'm defending software patents, I need a lie down.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Depends on the date

      Two of them were filed in 1993, including US5961601, which specifically mentions the web and HTTP. That's pretty early.

      US5961601 looks like the really troublesome one, in my quick & dirty analysis. It would appear to cover the REST HATEOAS architectural element in a broad and direct fashion, and it was filed and granted before Fielding's dissertation. That could potentially be very difficult to challenge in court. (Purely in my opinion, and IANAL. And I'm making no claims about its validity or goodness.)

  8. Chris Daemon

    So, they are going to sue Yahoo! as well, and Microsoft, and the Google, and Apple, etc for the multi-area/service sign up/in issue? And oh, how about that Facebook, and all that account linkage "Sign in, use your Facebook account for tracking, kthx"?

  9. W. Anderson

    What most commenters here miss is the whole insane and idiotic issue of software patents in the first place, grantedin most instances based on logical actions rather some innovative way of process.

    One of the most prominent and respected Intellectual Property Attorneys in USA - covering Trademarks, Patents and Copyright indicated - with full support of large swarthwes of colleagues - that the issuance of software patents in USA - which are being reviewed or blocked completely in other developed nations, is so ludicrous by an inept US Patent Office that is is theoratically legal for an applicant to apply for patent on how human beings and mammals breathe, thus subjecting any and all persons in USA to patent proyalty payments for breathing.

    Note that USA patent office accepst patent applications , not based of firsrt creator/developer, but first entity to apply for patent, irregardless of any assocoation to patent in question.

    This is description - to an extreme - of the stupidity of software patents, which will negatively affect techology software innovation in USA, and to advantage of software development in other compeeting jurisdictions.

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