Saturday, May 06, 2017

Uber, Lyft hit by patent troll

Electronic Frontier Foundation has an interesting “stupid patent of the month” story, this time about litigation against Uber and Lyft.  This matters to me as a consumer, as I do depend on Uber to get around DC Metro’s shrinking of weekend hours.  The story is by Vera Raineri, link.
The patent  in question is an “automated dispatch and payment honoring system: for taxis, and now for ride hailings services, link here from a company named Hailo.  The patent dates back to 1997, when the Internet was just getting going.  EFF says that the dispatching technology existed before.  It is very expensive to litigate questionable patents in court, but it is sometimes possible to get USPTO to review them.

Monday, April 03, 2017

"Storing files in folders" becomes a patent and is trollable

Daniel Nazer of Electronic Frontier Foundation has a brief article on one of the stupidest patent concepts ever for trolling, “storing files in folders” (patent text ).  

I do that every day when I copy pictures from my camera to folders on my computer with the command prompt or with Windows Explorer.
This time the patent is owned by Micoba, having been sold by Louisiana Tech

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Supreme Court could outrun Federal Circuit on patent trolls' forum shopping

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post is reporting on the Supreme Court’s consideration of the practice of forum shopping by patent trolls, as in this story March 27

Many cases wind up a federal court in Marshall, Texas (east of Dallas), or in Delaware, both jurisdictions favorable to plaintiffs, because of Federal Circuit rules that allow filing of suits against plaintiffs that have any business at all in any circuit, which Congress may not have intended.

 Defendants claim that they must be filed in an area where there is a preponderance of business.

I’m not aware that this affects trademark or domain names.  If it did, since any resident of Marshall could access any domain online, it could matter.

I recently saw a woman on the DC Metro carrying a bag that had lettering to the effect of "Federal Circuit Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia" over near Judiciary Square.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

At ICANN, commercial lobbies are getting more aggressive in preventing accidental amateur use of domain names resembling their marks.

Jeremy Malcolm of Electronic Frontier Foundation has an important story on the aggressive behavior of the “commercial lobby”, so-to-speak, about influencing ICANN not to allow registration of domain names remotely resembling established brands, even when based on common words (even “The”), and even when other lines of business.  The article also notes the lack of any way to check for international trademarks online (unlike the case in the U.S., where USPTO seems to be reasonably up to date).

It does seem legitimate to me to want to stop misspellings of company names from being registered, as this is how malware is often propagated. 

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Try patenting "out of office email" in a small living space -- like on a space station

On Electronic Frontier Foundation, Daniel Nazer writes about a “stupid patent of the month”: IBM patents out-of-office email (link).

The really does sound abstract.
Imagine the idea being used on a space colony.  If you go out of the office, you can’t physically be very far away.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Patent trolls still can take advantage of forum shopping; Trump in China (is no Nixon)

Patent trolls and patent owners can take undue advantage of forum shopping, according to a story on Electronic Frontier Foundation by Daniel Nazer this morning.    And the federal circuit in Washington DC, which is supposed to have the technical expertise in patent and trademark, has not been allowing defendants to choose their home field for jurisdiction (for “Home field advantage”).   The relevant case is Pabst v. Xiliinx. 

The Hill this morning has a major story by Nikita Vladimirov about the Trump organization’s trademark activity in China, an apparently obvious source of conflict of interest.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

EFF slams patent that matches music with lyrics and comments "automatically"

Electronic Frontier Foundation, in its column “Stupid Patent of the Month”, in an article by Daniel Nazer, discusses a patent from CBS Interactive, “Song Discussions”, that offers a supposedly automated way to match music with lyrics and user comments.  CBS Interactive is part of the familiar CBS broadcasting corporation (e.g., "60 Minutes")  .

I actually have some composed music which could be matched with lyrics (one is a setting of Psalm 133, which I just discussed on Wordpress recently).  I guess I’d better be careful about any automated tools.