Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents Red Hat Software Your Rights Online

Uniloc Patent Case Against Rackspace Tossed for Bogus Patents 76

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the don't-mess-with-red-hat dept.
netbuzz writes "A federal judge in Texas, presiding over a district notorious for favoring patent trolls, has summarily dismissed all claims relating to a case brought by Uniloc USA against Rackspace for [Linux] allegedly infringing upon [Uniloc's] patents. Red Hat defended Rackspace in the matter and issued a press release saying: 'In dismissing the case, Chief Judge Leonard Davis found that Uniloc's claim was unpatentable under Supreme Court case law that prohibits the patenting of mathematical algorithms. This is the first reported instance in which the Eastern District of Texas has granted an early motion to dismiss finding a patent invalid because it claimed unpatentable subject matter.'" You can't patent floating point math after all.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Uniloc Patent Case Against Rackspace Tossed for Bogus Patents

Comments Filter:
  • by pollarda (632730) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @10:48AM (#43303573)
    Perhaps they will realize that computers can only do what you can already do with a pencil and piece of paper. (They just do it all much faster.) Given that, it is all simply algorithms which are unpatentable. (Of course, if you use the computer to control things, then your piece of paper can be replaced with a joystick or whatever.)
  • by Shotgun (30919) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @11:20AM (#43303871)

    But, don't most machines do things that can already be done by hand...just much faster? I'm not trying to be combative. It just seems that this is a questionable criteria to use for patentability.

    The guy that invented that little rubber cover that goes over the connector of good ethernet cables to keep the clip from catching on all the other cables (best invention EVVARR!!). Well, that was something that you could already do by keeping your finger on the clip, but I think the invention was invaluable and the guy deserved some patent protection.

  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 28, 2013 @11:28AM (#43303957) Homepage Journal

    But, don't most machines do things that can already be done by hand...just much faster? I'm not trying to be combative. It just seems that this is a questionable criteria to use for patentability.

    The guy that invented that little rubber cover that goes over the connector of good ethernet cables to keep the clip from catching on all the other cables (best invention EVVARR!!). Well, that was something that you could already do by keeping your finger on the clip, but I think the invention was invaluable and the guy deserved some patent protection.

    Yes, and the unpatentability of software is actually based on a policy decision that most anti-software patent people miss. Specifically, one of the remedies for patent infringement is an injunction. If your patent claims can be fully performed by hand - or in someone's mind - then you can (theoretically) get an injunction to prevent people from thinking about something. Not only does that not actually work in practice, it also creates a thoughtcrime, which the courts are loathe to do.

    Instead, under the Bilski decision, an idea has to be non-abstract, which typically means that it transforms matter or is tied to machine. So (novelty and obviousness aside, for the sake of clarifying the distinction), while a patent claiming "adding a first number to a second number to generate a third number" would be an unpatentable algorithm, a patent claiming "executing an adder by a processor of a computing device, the adder configured for adding a first number to a second number to generate a third number, the third number stored in a memory of the computing device" would not be an unpatentable algorithm, as it is tied to a specific machine.

    Now, of course, the method still has to be novel and nonobvious, and merely adding the computing device won't make it so. However, if you have a novel and nonobvious algorithm, it can still be protected, albeit in a way that doesn't create a thoughtcrime or prevent someone from performing the algorithm mentally or on paper.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 28, 2013 @11:53AM (#43304219)

    Patents have been required (in theory at least) to be "new, novel, non-obvious" since patents became law in this country, and that was the law in 1999 when the patent was issued. Currently you are current that that doesn't matter anymore, this patent is no longer valid under current law, but it shouldn't have been valid at any point earlier, either.

  • by Whatsisname (891214) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @12:12PM (#43304403) Homepage

    The little rubber boot is not even remotely something that patents should protect. You are subscribing to the faulty, revisionist "dibs" model of patents.

    The bargain made in patents is that society provides protection, in exchange for the inventor disclosing how their machine works. The alternative, as was the case prior to patents, was that guilds were very secretive about their processes and technologies, and if something happened to the guild, the technology disappeared along with them. The patent bargain was made to bring their technological secrets into the public domain.

    In the case of a rubber boot on an ethernet cable, there is nothing to disclose. You can figure out all there is to it by looking at it for 2 seconds. There is nothing consequential for society to reverse engineer in lieu of a patent. Protecting a rubber boot with patent protection is a terrible deal for society.

  • by rmstar (114746) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @01:52PM (#43305435)

    Bullshit. Without patents, there is no motivation, at all, for him to tool up and make them, as there is always a larger predator who can out-compete him.

    If he's the kind of guy who thinks he deserves to get rich for a bit of rubber, then I say let the predators have him.

    In your bullshit worldview, his best case was to sit on his idea, and refuse to innovate, because there would be no possible way for him to recover any profit for the time he spent innovating.

    If he is the kind of guy who thinks he deserves to get rich for a bit of rubber, then I say let him sit on his idea and rot away.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

Working...