back to article Now you can tell someone to literally go f--k themselves over the internet: Remote-control mock-cock patent dies

It is a great day for those who dream of Internet-of-Flings sex toys. A key patent describing web-connected remote-controllable techno-dildos has expired. Friday marks the 20-year anniversary, and, ahem, climax of, US Patent 6,368,268, a controversial piece of intellectual property that has long been blamed for holding back …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    WTF?

    The mind boggles

    See title

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: The mind boggles

      As do other body parts. Oh wait, you said "boggles"....

  2. Chris King Silver badge
    Coat

    Insert smutty joke here...

    Given the age of the patent, that comes from the era of 3.5" floppies - 'nuff said !

    (Coat, because El Reg doesn't have a "We've wounded people for better jokes than that" icon)

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Insert smutty joke here...

      Your computer might be floppy, but mine's got a big hard disc...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Insert smutty joke here...

        8" floppy for me!

      2. JoshOvki
        Joke

        Re: Insert smutty joke here...

        Yours might be a big hard disc, but mine is always a solid state.

      3. Skippyman

        Re: Insert smutty joke here...

        back in the good old networking says i used a token ring sniffer.

  3. Johnny Canuck

    Obviously, that patent came to early.

    1. Arty Effem

      "Obviously, that patent came to early."

      Unlike your literacy.

  4. Def Silver badge
    Joke

    So maybe we'll finally get something like this? 8==D

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Joke

      syntax error - you forgot the ; at the end

  5. ma1010 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    This just underscores that patents are crap

    Our current patent system is beyond broken. It doesn't protect or foster innovation, but rather stifles it. This particular instance probably hasn't been a major loss for the world, but how many individuals and small companies don't even bother to TRY these days? If I had a great idea for some invention, given the minefield of patent law and patent trolls out there, I'd most likely just say "screw it" and go fishing or something, because likely some assbag imagined something vaguely like it and filed a patent on "thing that does stuff."

    It's a marvel that any innovation at all happens in today's toxic environment. I expect there will be less and less until they fix patent law. Patents should be issued ONLY for WORKING devices or manufacturing processes, not for vague ideas like "oh, you know, we could do some kind of Internet sex thingy, I think" and other such "business method" patents.

    Death to patent trolls!

    1. Keef

      Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

      I sort of agree, but US patent law is the major problem, not patent law in general.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

      "This particular instance probably hasn't been a major loss for the world,"

      True, but you just know that someone has resubmitted it with "on a mobile device" scrawled across it in red crayon and it'll probably get rubber stamped again.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

        With US patents the rubber approval stamp is pretty much automatic.

        They rely on them being challenged in court to weed out the crap ones.

        Which of course is completely impractical for the small inventor/innovator, and only benefits lawyers.

        1. Pat Att

          Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

          If you've ever tried to get a US patent you'd know that's bollocks. The US patent system isn't great, but they do not make it trivial to get patents granted.

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

          With US patents the rubber approval stamp is pretty much automatic.

          They rely on them being challenged in court to weed out the crap ones.

          Which of course is completely impractical for the small inventor/innovator, and only benefits lawyers.

          Where software/computer controlled devices are concerned, this isn't as true as it used to be.

          Yes, during the late 90's and 00's (20 00's that is), the USPTO was granting patents that basically said "do this regular thing we've always been doing, but do it on a computer".

          However, in the last 3-5 years there have been several cases handed down from the Supreme Court basically spanking the lower courts and USPTO for their acceptance of "on a computer" patents. The subject of a patent must be inventive, with or without an "on a computer" step. Taking something that already happens, even manually via filed paper work, and adding a computer system to do the same is no longer acceptable patent matter.

          This returned the status quo to what is was prior to this 90's (or maybe late 80's) period. Accepting patents for software is an anomaly of the 90's/00's when the USPTO, unilaterally, decided to expand patent coverage. This is why software such as UNIX, MS-DOS, VMS, etc. never had patent protection, as it predated this period, so you couldn't get a patent for that sort of software. But the USPTO changed its mind in the 90's and started allowing it. Then in the early-mid 2010's the US Supreme Court disabused the USPTO and the patent appeals court of that notion.

          The USPTO also introduced their inter partes patent review process, where, after paying the appropriate fee to the USPTO, a patent's validity can be challenged without a trial by basically asking the USPTO to have a second, harder look at the patent, based on additional information the requesting body has provided (there's no point asking for an inter partes review if you can't provide your own research/information to the USPTO).

          Courts and bureaucracy are slow movers. So its taken a couple years for this to filter down. And with only a couple years to go (as of say a couple years ago) then no-one would have bothered to pro-actively try to get the patent in question here cancelled, if it could have been under the newer precedents, just wait a couple years and it has just expired anyway.

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

          With US patents the rubber approval stamp is pretty much automatic.

          They rely on them being challenged in court to weed out the crap ones.

          I've thought one solution there (it would need other fixes implemented as well) whereby anyone who has submitted a patent, only to have it invalidated later, would then be able to get a 5X refund of their filing fees back from the USPTO. Enough of those and they'll find it necessary to actually DO their jobs or face their budget being wiped out.

      2. MaltaMaggot

        Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

        "rubber stamping"....saucy

    3. Pat Att

      Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

      Not really - the patent is US only, and so it doesn't stop anyone building on it in Europe over the last 20 years. People probably have (I don't know). And if you look at the claims, it's much more specific than what you say.

    4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

      The value of a patent is not to protect innovation, it's simple to have a piece of paper to wave at the VC when they want to invest in the company. Patents aren't crap, but they have no real function.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This just underscores that patents are crap

      Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for the view I will offer a counter argument proposed by a US legal contact.

      Where is your evidence that this actually results in less economically valid innovation whether you compare against some hypothetical or by comparison to less restrictive and less adverserial countries?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Patent-handling”

    *snigger* ;)

  7. IceC0ld Bronze badge

    premature celebrations

    hhahahhahhahahahahahahaha

    deep breath

    hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahha

    sorry, peurile and childish, but it tickled me... oops

  8. gerdesj Silver badge
    Holmes

    Unencumbered by patents

    https://buttplug.io - probably the best URL in the world.

    It is probably NSFW but it is also a genuine open source project with a particular focus. The TLD choice is pure genius

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Unencumbered by patents

      It's open sauce!

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Unencumbered by patents

      says "implementation in C pound" - heh, not surprised, really

      1. Ima Ballsy
        Facepalm

        Re: Unencumbered by patents

        From their WebSite ....

        Features

        Implementations in C#, Javascript, and other popular languages.

        Support for popular hardware brands, such as Kiiroo, Lovense, Erostek, and more.

        Can support Bluetooth, USB, Serial, and Audio controlled toys.

        Cross-platform libraries available for Desktop and Mobile.

        Open Source with Permissive License (BSD 3-Clause)

        The PUNS on this can be be endless .....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teledildonics

    That is all.

  10. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Damnit, Reg!

    You're making me feel guilty about probing ports now.

    Then again, I will say it again: the biggest threat to man is an independently wealthy woman with battery operated toys.

  11. frank ly Silver badge

    Ridiculous

    That so called patent is just replacing a length of cable 'with a computer', 'over the internet'. Also, it's 'obvious to anyone skilled in the art', as the expression goes.

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: Ridiculous

      @frank ly

      Yeah, lots of prior art. A friend provided a pager set to vibrate to his girlfriend (back when pagers were still thing) to be worn in her knickers, so he could remind her of his thinking of her when both were at work. Their kids are in college now, so I suspect this would be prior art to a sane patent office.

      Problems:

      1) The USPTO only considers things it can find in its list of filed patents to be "prior art".

      2) Apparently this eliminates quite a few things that are obvious to those reasonably skilled in the art.

      3) Like you mention. take anything, no matter how common for centuries and add "with a computer" or "over the Internet"

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Ridiculous

        @Mike 16, if you care enough, see this I posted in reply to another thread on this topic:

        https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/3591619

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. bpfh Bronze badge

    SMTP

    Simple Massage Transfer Protocol...

    MASSAGE FROM

    RCPT TO

    DATA

    Header: (´intensity’:’11´;´duration’:´1800´;’livestream’:´true’)

    .

    250 Massage accepted for delivery

    1. Phil W

      Re: SMTP

      Massage payload delivered to box.

  14. veti Silver badge

    "Industry site SexTechLaw"?

    You made that up, didn't you? Fortunately I'm reading this at home so I can Google it...

    Wow. Talk about niche.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: "Industry site SexTechLaw"?

      Not so niche when you look at the stats....

      Worldwide turnover for sex toys is approxed at $20 billion for 2015, expected to rise to some $30 billion in 2020. And that's just the wiggly-buzzy stuff. Not even the rest of the mass-produced apparel used in the many, many fetishes that are so far documented. Note that the US is a major consumer of the stuff.

      So yeah, if you can lock down a slice of the pie using the notoriously ...insane... US patent system, you're in the money. Not a chance of it in Europe, or most other places, but in the US.... ohboy...

      So not so niche after all....

      1. Ima Ballsy
        Big Brother

        Re: "Industry site SexTechLaw"?

        "Note that the US is a major consumer of the stuff."

        Yeah, unlike the rest of the world we just can't go out to our LOCAL sex/BSDM corner shop and pick up what we need.

  15. Warm Braw Silver badge

    I'm afraid I read that as...

    Remote-control mock-cock patient dies

    ... which would have been more troubling and interesting at the same time.

    I can't imagine why my eyesight is so poor these days.

  16. Paul Johnson 1

    Patent not patient

    I read this as "patient dies" not "patent dies".

  17. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Oh, doughnuts!

    The idea is you, er, place the erotic aid somewhere sensitive,

    GCHQ? Ft. Meade?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, doughnuts!

      Nope, them assholes are probably too big to stuff.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Oh, doughnuts!

        Nope, them assholes are probably too big to stuff.

        I think if we could crowdfund a couple of cargoships worth of black nobblers, they could probably be buried up to their pointy ears.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Oh, doughnuts!

        Nope, them assholes are probably too big to stuff.

        Or too tight.

        There isn't enough lube in the world for some of those assholes, I think the following quotes would apply to them:

        That operations officer's fart hole's sewed so tight he shits out of his mouth.

        - Sergeant Major Choozoo, Heartbreak Ridge

        Or:

        Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond.

        - Ferris Bueller

        1. Andrew Newstead

          Re: Oh, doughnuts!

          WD 40?

    2. Demosthenes Locke

      Re: Oh, doughnuts!

      The Laundry over in Dancy House has a Magic Wand connected up to a summoning grid and a captive succubus, sort of an Internet of Things That Go Bump And Grind in the Night.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    Any relation of the old F-U-F-Me?

    As preserved here: http://www.easylife.org/fufme/

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I look forward to reading about the first one of these being hacked. It'll make the baby monitor stories seem very tame.

    Paris, because... well need you even ask?

    1. Grikath Silver badge
      Devil

      Buzzystuff with RF control ..... check.

      Buzzystuff using Bluetooth ..... check.

      Buzzystuff using 3G/4G ..... check.

      What do you mean.. "the first" ?

  21. Snar

    It’s happened aparrently! We had a presentation by a UK based pen tester who had looked at a teledildonic device with a camera that was sending images to a Chinese address....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      James Lyne by any chance? Sounds like something that would be right up his, err, just the sort of thing he'd investigate.

  22. arctic_haze Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Patents are suposed to be for not-obvious things

    Which part of not-obvious the patent office cannot understand?

    Also there is prior art, for example the remotely controlled orgasmatron Barbarella was forced to use in the 1968 movie.

  23. Maya Posch
    Mushroom

    How does this patent make any bleedin' sense?

    Essentially this pitiful excuse of a patent is for 'a device that can be connected to via a network, receive data and activate actuators depending on said data'. The reason for this should be irrelevant.

    The amount of prior art for such implementations (in less NSFW settings) date back roughly since computer networks exist, conceivably before the invention of the transistor.

    Stuff like this is a reminder of why it might actually make sense to ignore the US market for one's products, so as to avoid such ludicrous patents.

    1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

      Re: How does this patent make any bleedin' sense?

      Based on your logic, I think a simple printer would fit the bill as prior art.

      It even covers the gentle transfer of viscous fluids from one surface to another...

  24. Efer Brick

    Come again....

    err

  25. The Real Tony Smith

    Internet Of Sex

    Also known as the abbreviation... Oh, hang on...

  26. ~chrisw

    Just think of the latency

    And I wondered why FUFMe drives never took off. (I think the fu-fme site still just about exists on one of the online archives!) I wonder if they licensed this patent and got screwed by them...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    preferred embodiment?

    Some patent jargon takes on a whole new meaning in this context.

  28. liamprincetech

    Surely this article should have been listed under "personal tech"

  29. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Patents suck!

    and this without connection.

  30. JacobZ

    I read that as "patient"...

    ...not "patent", so I had entirely the wrong mental image

  31. Pat Harkin
    Coat

    CodeProject are ready for this.

    Today's project: C# Knob Control using Windows Forms

    https://www.codeproject.com/Tips/1187460/Csharp-Knob-Control-using-Windows-Forms

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