* Posts by Stef

7 posts • joined 30 Jan 2008

Dell launches well 'ard laptop

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Old concept

It is specialist equipment, for sure.

However, who's likely to need state-of-the-art computing oomph (Core 2 Duo, NVS graphics etc.) in the kind of environments this is likely to be used? Do squaddies train on Crysis between firefights?

Panasonic has been making toughbooks for donkey's years, with survivability probably at least comparable to this new piece of kit, which can be picked-up 2nd-hand on fleaBay for pennies these days, with specs able to run any OS short of Vista, most office apps and can be WiFi'ed with an inexpensive PCMCIA.

Why reinvent the wheel and charge a premium?


Palm unfazed by Apple patent threat


How about this? Err... not really

* All patents subject to compulsory, non-discriminatory licencing. (Patents exist to reward inventors for sharing things, not just thinking of them.)

+1 at AC: "Why would I invest my time and effort creating the widget, if I don't then own it?"

The main point of obtaining a patent is to deal in the invention as the patent owner sees fit. Where's the economical incentive to go through the process if they can't? One upstream from that: where's the economical incentive to spend on R&D if the results and the economic advantage they may confer can be grabbed and exploited by any competitor for free?

* Patent Office, not holder, sets royalty rates for aforementioned licencing, unless holder wishes it to be licenced gratis. (Prevents effective lock-out by setting stupid rates.)

A Patent Office's business is to examine and reject/grant IP rights, not value the economic contribution of inventions to which they relate (which may or may not be proportional to the amount of R&D invested)

* Patent examiners are paid according to what they reject. (Reduces temptation for examiners to grant frivolous patents.)

Patent Examiners are Civil servants paid according to scale. Anyhow, the last I checked (daily at the coal face), Patent Examiners do not grant 'frivolous patents'. They may have done in the US, but that time is well and truly gone, post-KSR. Thankfully (grudging admission, LOL!).

* No prototype => work of science fiction, not a proper patent application.

That's fine in a first-to-invent jurisdiction like the US, not so in a first-to-file jurisdiction (aka the rest of the world).

Read up on 'enabling disclosure': if I describe how to make a new and inventive widget X in my patent specification, and you can make one exactly like it just from reading it (which is the legal test), why should I be astrained to material costs in building a prototype as well if there is no need to? If widget X does not perform as described and claimed, then the disclosure is not enabling and the patent is invalid by reason of same. This is current (EP/US) law & practice, btw.

* Term of validity runs from date of filing, not date of award. (Prevents "submarine patents".)

Patent term generally runs from the date of filing. The US and some remote jurisdictions sometimes "top up" the term, usually because the USPTO has taken longer than average to prosecute the application. Only bio patents get specific extensions (not that long either) because their commercial exploitation timeframe is quite small relative to the term (time between application made and revenue actually starts).

Submarine patents pretty much ended when the US adopted the "publish-at-18-months" rule already in place everywhere else. There are exceptions (as for all good rules), which are a very small minority (usually relevant to weapons tech).

* Patent is annulled in event that it becomes a legal requirement (e.g. if someone holds a patent on a low-pollution / less hazardous version of a process which ends up being the only way to comply with a newly-introduced environmental / safety law). (Prevents effective privatisation of law.)

Provisions for compulsory licensing, to be used in situations you depict, are already in place in the legislation of most countries to remedy this issue (see e.g. 'Crown Use' in the UK).

* Demonstrably-independent invention is not breach of patent.

Pre-filing date (or reduction to practice in first-to-invent US), it's called a confidential disclosure, which by definition is not shared with the world in the manner a patent application is when published (which is why it does NOT invalidate a patent with a later filing date). Rights of earlier confidential independnent devisors are preserved in most jurisdictions (they can carry on infringing without liability, but e.g. can't license out).

Later devisors should improve upon the disclosed invention, that's the whole idea of the system. Why reinvent the wheel?

* Courts get power to annul patent and charge both sides costs, in event of a dispute. (Gives highly effective weapon against trolls by threatening to cut off revenue stream if abused.)

They already do. At least in most European jurisdictions. Assuming you mean "a Court can invalidates a patent found not new/inventive during a countersuit for revocation" (standard knee-jerk reaction to infringement proceedings), and a Court charges cost to the losing party or apportions costs to both parties for an 'in-between' decision (patent valid but not infringed, patent valid and partially infringed).

Mine's the one with the Rule 71(3) Communication in the pocket.


Apple patents map mobile future


@ Ken Hagan


"The *real* scandal is that other countries accept them. In effect, you can bypass every patent office on the planet by paying a few cents to Uncle Sam. I do not understand why other countries accept without question something that they know has not yet been subject to any verification."


Countries do not 'accept' other countries' patents (assuming that, by 'accepting', you mean 'registration' or 'enforcement').

Patents are territorial animals: a US patent only applies to the US jurisdiction, end of. Assuming it's granted of course.

Try enforcing a US patent in the UK, for a laugh. Or, for that matter, get these Apple US patent applications granted by the UKIPO or the EPO, for an even bigger laugh (assuming Apple have filed convention applications on the basis of same).

As regards the Apple filings themselves, I have prosecuted applications relating to the exact same subject-matter at least 3 years ago for another (very) blue chip telecoms company, and on the basis of the (old) prior art I battled with, am confident any 'trolling' by Apple would be swiftly and terminally dealt with by an even semi-competent defense team.

Mild gale in a thimble.

Mine's the one with the Form 1200 in the pocket


French motorwonk savages hybrid cars


@ Perpetual Cyclists

With nuclear (or for the more PC-persuaded, wind and/or solar) electricity, fully electrics certainly appear the most viable alternative medium to long-term, if the 'personal transportation' model is to live on.

Comparable performance to run-of-the-mill cars, with better torque (less energy 'wasted' in standstill/go situations, e.g. at lights) and, save as to tyres, windscreen wipers and brake pads (and batteries but on a much larger timescale), there is no "regular maintenance" required whatsoever.

So not only do you do away with the fossil fuel production/supply line, but you also do away with the best portion of the spare parts industry (and logistical requirements of same) and the only downside that I see, would be the need to "refill" more frequently (perhaps Li-ion/Li-po tech, with substantial recharging in very small timeframes can assist) and *of course* to re-train squillions of car mechanics into electricians ;-P

Thumb Up


Here you go:


(by Citroën no less, by way of two good-natured fingers @ AC and the Citroëen-bashing brigade)

Thumbs up, because I test drove a fully-electric Clio and a fully-electric AX well over 13 years ago - way ahead of their time, but the problem has always been the same for "fully electrics": lack of range (60 miles max at the time, has improved a little since, but not quite enough still).

I have been commuting my 6 - miles return trip in central Dublin on a fully-electric scooter (the vespa type, not the kiddy type) for the last 2 years now. Still not super (winter time cuts your range big time - batteries still don't like cold, regardless of tech), but it's a start.


Nintendo patent profers wacky Wii add-ons


European patent application? I think not

Only the JP priority application and a US convention application available on espacenet, and not a sign of the equivalent EP, on espacenet or on the European Register (which would be there in both cases if a European patent application was sought).

The JP priority application (JP20060129732) was filed on 09 May 2006, this appears to be one of the original patent applications(s) for the Wiimote itself, and not a 'new/recent European patent application' for yet 'more housings for the Wiimote'.

This US (for it is a US convention) was only recently published (January 2008, 18 months from the 2006 priority date or thereabouts), which is probably why it's only raised some interest now.

Less sensationalism, more facts please.


Ryanair incurs wrath of Sarko the Terrible

Jobs Horns

I seem to recall quite the withdrawal from Brits in 1940 too...

@ Math Campbell

erm... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_8969

A tad more difficult than an embassy, don't you think? ;-P



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