Monday, March 31, 2008

DIY Cheap Provisional

Wouldn't it be a great idea to have every digital picture on the net hashed according to some algorithm that would make the picture a short string of characters? Range math can do that easily, and I have read on SecretDataBase that a U6 language can do just that. A great solution to filing a provisional application is mailing a notarized copy of the paperwork documenting an invention back to self. The procedure is not as official as what $105 as of today, if filing as a small entity with the US PTO would get an inventor - the price, at most, is the cost of the registered letter. As long as an attorney qualified in intellectual property is notified of this, the inventor would have a great recourse in case things come to prosecution.

Holster Spa

Once I was reading Gordon Liddy's Will, where among giving some ideas on character building, he mentions a neat way to customize a holster. I checked it out by picking a Galco belt holster at the same place I bought myself tactical boots, and going through the whole procedure. I soaked the whole holster, exactly per Liddy's instructions, Saran-wrapping my Ruger, inserting it into the holster and letting it all dry in a well-aired sunny room. Just like he said, the leather fit snugly around the gun like a perfectly fitted glove. Moreover, the interior now has enough of tightness that it holds back the gun's grip just enough so the gun won't slip out of the holster too fast when I draw it a bit too spastically. I haven't seen or heard anyone else using the trick. It works.

The Tjat marries cellphones to email

Nowadays the flashy new cellphones with all the bells and whistles give someone headaches when they won't let you hook up to one's email account or online address book. Either the special software you need won't install properly, or the emails are only received part of the time. Making the cellphone-to-email hassle go away is a startup company Tjat (pronounced t-jat) - the name coming from Swedish "to heckle." The company's online solution has successfully bridged the gap between your PC and cellphone, without the pain of having to install anything. Compatible with cellphones old and new, the Tjat system is currently being used by over two million people around the world. "In short," says Drori, Tjat's founder, originally from Los Angeles, Internet messaging through the cell phone "is complicated, expensive and hasn't been working for the last five years. Tjat says that our system works on any phone and that we will connect you into your account." Holding no grudges against the companies "that build clients," says Drori, "when you download something through the airwaves, something can go wrong." He estimates that over 65 percent of the time, programs designed to facilitate the email to cellphone capability, simply don't work. He also mentions the problem of cellphone viruses. Yet instant messaging and email remains one of the most popular methods for online communications in America. Tjat's online-based system (accessed through the company's web site) lets people connect directly and efficiently to any email service, including popular ones like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail. Using your mobile phone, you can check, send and receive as if you are using your own email account, says the company. On top of that, Tjat subscribers get a personal storage area for uploading or downloading pictures and videos without the need to connect to a PC. Tjat says it can help you share "photographic moments and experiences with anyone, anytime, and more importantly anywhere." How does it do it? Instead of requiring users to download new software, Tjat went around the problem. "We did away with the operating system," says Drori. The online platform opens the door to cellphone users who are not willing to invest money in buying client applications. Based instead on terminal-server architecture, Tjat offers a number of benefits to wireless operators such as low maintenance costs, compatibility with all cellular phones, with no technical support or help-desk costs. Most exciting to cellular operators, notes Drori, is an extremely high usage rate - each subscriber is currently producing about 2 MG worth of traffic each day, whereas the average amount for non-Tjat users is 40 times less, at about 50 KB. Based in Tel Aviv, Tjat was founded in 2004 as a garage startup by young and ambitious computer professionals. In May 2006, the company received an investment that helped it go live. The company has been growing since. Tjat sees itself as an attractive service for cellphone operators. Apparently the largest cellphone operator in the US does too. Drori didn't want to disclose the name, but boasts that his platform can increase revenue (which will be shared with Tjat) with no cost to the phone operator. Spanish-speaking Americans will be happy to know that Tjat is also able to operate and interface with multiple languages such as Spanish - a service that no other company has been able to provide to date, says Drori. Other languages currently available include English Arabic, Hebrew and Russian and about 10 others.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The hunt is on for No. 2 in a triangle

HDPE must be all around us. I do not have a clear picture of how much of petrochemicals goes into polyethylene manufacture down there in Texas, but we are sure lucky if the high cost of oil ($105 a barrel?) did not make a milk jug cost more than the gallon of milk.

I am sure some of the polyethylene comes from corn (ethanol stream). Some of the polyethylene probably comes from natural gas, through Merox or Sulfrex technology. However, no matter how you look at it, and no matter where on the political spectrum you are, sooner or later you might realize that you would not want let much of the mass of polyethylene in the form of HDPE go to a landfill, or to an incineration plant.

I looked around the house and found that I have loads of that HDPE stuff. The little arrow triangle with "2" inside is everywhere. It's on the bleach jug. It's on the vitamin bottle. Fabric softener. Oven cleaner. Some of the bottle caps are made of the stuff.

My friends are already feeling the gas price. People are staying in. Vermont reports decline in travel-related sports, like fishing and hunting. Pizza delivery has a $5 surcharge for orders under a medium-size pizza. I would like to feel better and stuff my recycling center green box with all of my recycled plastic, and HDPE, Triangle No.2 is most of it. It's going to go and become, at least, HDPE scrap, (or check out HDPE Regrind) pressed and ready to become a resilient padding for a children's playground, or, better yet, a great multitude of laundry detergent bottles.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Patenting Cubism, Art and Science

100th anniversary of invention of Cubism is upon us. First, Flicker Alley has just released a two-disc CD set for $29.95 titled "Discovering Cinema", which contains two French-made documentaries titled "Learning to Talk" and "Movies Dream in Color", which contain clips and full short films from the 1910/1920 time period, when people inventing the leap from silent black and white movies to color and sound, a classic problem in the history of technology evolution.
For some time, and more so in the future, many have argued that all of the arts, both methods and articles of manufacture, should be subject to the patent system, as scientists and engineers more and more apply their useful arts to the ... arts. While all artistic methods have been patentable for over 100 years (methods uncopyrightable under 17 USC 102b), it is only gradually that all artistic works are becoming patentable as the great tension between 35 USC 101's manufactures and 17 USC 102a's fixed expressions face the reality of the growing science and engineering of all forms of art. A death and an anniversary help illustrate this patenting evolution. The death is that of Lenore Tawney, who died last year in New York City at the age of 100. In 1959, the New York artist invents the genre of fiber art, by combining several techniques - plain weave, gauze weave, slit tapestry and open-warp weaving - to invent large, abstract, free-hanging sculptures from fibers. Ms. Tawney had earlier been trained as both a sculptor and a weaver, and her new genre united the worlds of arts and crafts, which had been mostly disjoint until then. A progress of the useful arts deserving of patent protection - if she had wanted to so patent - the inventor's choice. Obvious? 1959 seems a pretty late discovery date after centuries of sculpting and weaving for this to be obvious.
An important interplay of science and the arts is celebrated this year, the 100th anniversary of the invention of Cubism by Pablo Picasso, with his then infamous and now famous painting of five prostitutes, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, one of the classic paintings in the history of all of the arts for its role in fostering modern art. It was not until one year later in 1908, that the term "cubism" was invented, when art critic Louis Vauxcelles derisively described George Braque's 1908 painting "House at L'Ebstaque" as being composed of cubes. Early Cubists were inspired by current theoies of mathematics and physics, especially the relativity of Poincare-Lorentz-Einstein, as introduced to them by mathematician Maurice Princet. The 29 September 2007 edition of New Scientist has a nice article (page 50) on this inspiration, written by Arthur Miller, emeritus professor of the history and philosophy of science at University College London. Some years ago, an excellent thesis was written on this subject. Some quotes from the article: X-rays, discovered in 1895, bolstered Picasso's belief that what you see is not always what you get. He arrived at the same conclusion after seeing the work of primitive Iberian sculptors, who represented not what they saw but what they knew. Kind of like a good patent lawyer, who drafts patent claims not on how the inventor sees the invention as is, but how the lawyer see what the invention is. And frankly and sarcastically, some patent drawings are being allowed to be so sloppy as to be Cubist :-) The painting is laid out like a motion picture in five frames of increasing geomertization: from the Egyptian-Gauginesque figure on the left, through the middle figures (fusions of French conceptual art and primitive Iberian sculpture), to the strange angles of the figure on the right, ... Now the science. Picasso's notion of viewing an object from several perspectives at once also grew out of his fascination with four-dimensional geometry. Early in 1907, he was introduced to an insurance actuary called Maurice Princet who had a keen interest in mathematics. ... In June 1907, Princet visited Picasso's studio just when the artist had become stuck on how to proceed with Les Demoiselles. .... Princet showed Picasso a book by Esprit Jouffret about complex polyhedra in four dimensions. To illustrate his results, Jouffret had projected these objects onto the two-dimensional plane of the paper in order to show them from different perspectives in succession - like walking around an object. ... Picasso was particularly struck by [mathematician] Poincare's suggestion of how to represent an object in four dimensions by projecting a succession of primitives. With a nod to Jouffret's book (inspired in part by Poincare's popular book, "Science and Hypothesis"), Poincare wrote that geometers do this playfully all the time. Why not project multiple perspectives all at once, Picasso wondered? "Obvious to try" in light of Poincare's prior art comment - an interesting example for future KSR debates? (Let's hope the question never gets to the Supreme Court, who would butcher both the art and science.) How did Picasso proceed with his reasoning? It was while viewing an exhibition of African masks that Picasso a moment of illumination. What Princet had been trying to teach him about geometry suddenly made sense .. now he understood how to add multi-dimensional geometry to the mix. The result was the face of the squatter (middle right hand side of painting), a projection from the fourth dimension, in which front and profile views are seem simultaneously, her head swivelled 180 degrees. ... [the squatter] figure underwent the most extreme transformations in hundreds of preliminary sketches [experiments]. Cubism 101-patentable as a method? Why not? Technical? Why not? Picasso created an aesthically useful application of Poincare's science. Obvious? Probably not. After all, other artists could have read Poincare's book and thought about the artistic implications. And if the genus of Cubism is patentable, why not new styles of Cubism as species as they were invented in the years that followed by other artists? With regards to "manufactures", as such species patents use narrower and narrower independent/dependent claims, when does specific expression become patent-controllable? Sadly, on the 100th anniversary of this interaction between art and science, not only are these questions unanswered, but barely asked. A painting is a manufacture. Interestingly, another scientist/artist read and was inspired by Poincare's book (Science and Hypothesis), a scientist/artist who went on to invent great things with his avant-garde thinking in the era of other avant-garde thinkers being inspired by science. His name: Einstein. As the arts become more fully subsumed into the sciences, it ends a modern evolution that started with Da Vinci, continued through Picasso and many others, and finishes in the 21st century as scientists, engineers, neuroscientists, biologists, mathematicians and othes embed the arts into the progress of science. The Founding Fathers would rejoice that we are now making the phrase "science and useful arts" redundant, that we can drop either "useful arts" or "sciences" because they now cover the same thing - everything. And with such science of art, we can embed into consumer electronics tremendous art technology that allows the entire public to more fully express their inner art visions. A goal the Founding Fathers of America, and the Founding Fathers of modern art, would allow fully support. Imagine the artistic power of Disney in the hands of all people. Is patenting movies and music weakended in any way by Comiskey? No. All forms of art - "2D" (paintings, etc.) and "3D" (sculptures, etc.) are useful (101) articles of manufacture (101) made from compositions of matter (101) that can be described by clear, decision-free sequences of instructions for either hand or machine manufacturing. The only patentability problem then reduces to 112. Which is where all these arguments below - in the 112 realm of practical instruction, not the PTO-botched and court-botched metaphysics of 101. The following claims might be surprisingly acceptable: 1) A new biological cell. 2) The useful medical uses of the cell of claim 1. why not then 3) The useful entertainment uses of the cell of claim 1. Health and entertainment are two humongous useful methods and articles of manufacture industries. Why can't I claim applications of my new science (in this case, my new cell) in both industries, especially if entertainment uses result in more profit than the medical uses? You might ask how could a new biological cell be entertaining. Come to California. The first step to make completely redundant "sciences and useful arts" was suggested by Shakespeare - throw all of the copyright lawyers into the ocean, where they can finally realize the complete lie of 17 USC 102, as the idea of drowning merges with the expression of drowning. 17 USC 102 was, is and will always be scientific nonsense, a contempt of modern set theory, a statute completely at odds with the evolutions of the arts and sciences. With copyright lawyers gone (ok, don't kill, just throw them in jail for consumer fraud), the patent lawyers can help scientists more fully embrace the arts by bringing more and more art into the form of structured patent claims.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Entombment, Amazon, Netflix, and Schlafly

In this post:
  • BountyQuest/Amazon's 1-click goofup
  • Netflix sued for infringing "optimizing interest potential" patent
  • Phyllis Schlafly opposes patent reform bill

This year's Halloween patent: U.S. patent 748,284 - "Method of preserving the dead" - "... whereby a corpse may be hermetically sealed within a block of transparent glass" by pouring hot, molten glass all over it. Use it next time you get a lack of utility rejection from the PTO.


A recent Slashdot revealed a bit or irony about one of the more recent public prior art scams, BountyQuest.

Slashdot writes: "One last dose of irony - in explaining the prior art he used to reject the 1-click claims, a USPTO Examiner cited the very same TV remote control patent that was deemed to be unsuitable in a 1-Click prior art contest run by the O'Reilly and Bezos-bankrolled (and now bankrupt) BountyQuest (just last year, Amazon testifed to Congress that the contest failed to find prior art for Bezos' patent)."

Yes, a reason why a) BountyQuest was a joke, and b) these public prior art scams are ripe for abuse. There is only one solution - fire the jokers in charge of prior art handling at the PTO, and bring in some people who know how to supply examiners with the time, tools and resources to do the searching themselves - which they can do.


Over the years, I have spent a fair amount of time trying to bust the Netflix patents. Decent filing date - decent claims - always a trick to bust. A bit of irony then in seeing Netflix sued by a company called Refined Recommendation Corporation. The patent is 6,606,102. You can pretty much wipe your ass with this patent, for its late filing date and lack of any non-patent prior art. Will you jerks growup and do some searching before asserting such crap?

One additional crap note: you will see the word "valence" below, a ruse to distract the examiner. How's "valence" defined? ".... user interest and disinterest (valence)" in something. So why not just use "interest" like every other software recommendation system?

And finally, is it really surprising that RRC is a subsidiary of Acacia, which seems to be in a contest with Niro to see who can find the most crappy unsearched patent to assert?


Hey, even rightwing extremists get it right once in a blue moon (or red moon when they look at it). "The Patent Act is a Cheat on Americans", by Phyllis Schlafly, "A combination of foreigners who make a business of stealing out intellectual property, and the multinationals who want to avoid paying royalties to small inventors, have ganged up to get Congress to do their bidding".

Damn, she stole my next script idea. "Chinese Government: Hey Microsoft, Intel, IBM. You want us to give you more protection. Then work to undermine the U.S. patent system." Of course, that could explain the "Basic Chinese for Dummies" on Dudas' desk.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shvoong going PayPerPost!

I have been searching for ways of making money off blogs. I have tried ad networks. That experience turned into watching cents trickle in once every other day. I did invest time in promoting the blogs, especially this one, but, maybe having missed the blogging business boat several years ago, I could not achieve that elusive popularity going viral. It seems that any given (new) blog cannot stand on its own. It is not enough to propagate it through Web 2.0 social bookmarking sites. It must be exposed to a live, social media which is composed of other blogs.

And that’s how I stumbled upon PayPerPost.

I was having more fun with my blog than making money. I was actually reading Adsense ads on it, abiding by the rules of not clicking on them, I actually went directly to the URLs. One of the ads was from PayPerPost, and I was impressed what I found. Since then I took the ad network code off my blog, and hope to score more with PPP.

I found that PayPerPost has a huge blogger (postie) base, which should translate into what I like to call a viral potential. Graphics are a little bit to large and glaring, but still web-aesthetic, or neo-web. The Dashboard is a bit too busy, maybe justifiably so, since there are so many activities, site news and preferences to choose from. The back-end engineering works smoothly, as do cookies and HTML code. Things get accounted for and registered with pedantic precision. What I found attractive is the list of post writing opportunities that offer upfront payout. What an info management.

Another added benefit to PPP is its own forum, blogs and business features like direct blog-to-email function,( that for many might be a great answer to RSS), and all sorts of tools and codes. It looks like I have not fathomed all the possible services I can take advantage of on PPP. It is so inviting to use so many methods on PPP to socialize or watch PPP TV that instead I feel that I need to concentrate on my first posts. Blogosphere is huge, live and here to stay and, as they say, it's a shame not to monetize it.

blog reviews

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Software Industry Brainwashing kids to observe copyrights

Laws that prevent infringement of copyrights deserve protection, but copyrightowners are becoming insane. The November 26 edition of Forbes, page 54, mentions how the Entertainment Software Association has prepared a package of materials for kindergartners to teach them the evils of copyright infringement, including activity pages directing kids to draw a line to the copyrighted object. Well I suppose if adult copyright lawyers use crayons to explain the idea/expression dichotomy, why not reach out to the crayon experts? I mean, are these 5-year-olds given extra points if they draw the lines to the part of objects that are protected by 17 USC 102(a) but not 102(b)? Do 5 years old understand the difference between Due Process vagueness, and Do-Poo-Poo Nappiness? What next, brand "102(a)" onto the feets of all newborne babies? Think of this silly law: "Copyright law and 5 year olds."


and welcome visitors from these inventive blogs: Uncommon

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Departing from my usual analysis of technological advances and intellectual property, there is an equally captivating moment, similar to claims language used by patent boutiques and examiners. IF YOU LOVE HILARY CLINTON AND JACK NICHOLSON: For those of you who love Jack Nicholson's climatic scene in the movie "A Few Good Men" - the "You Want the Truth?" scene, and if you love Hilary Clinton, you will love the following humor written by New York Times op-ed writer David Brooks: BRIAN WILLIAMS: ... Senator Clinton, which issue would you like to obfuscate next? CLINTON: Obfuscate? Son, let me tell you the truth, because you can't handle the truth. We live in a world with enemies. We fight elections where people play rough. Who's going to do it? These two pretty boys? The left-wing nutjobs in our party who sit around watching Bill Maher? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, leads to victory. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about in Santa Monica dinner parties, you want me at that podium. You need me at that podium. And I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to the self-righteous liberals who rise and sleep under the very blanket of the victory I provide! I wish you'd just said thanks and went on your way. In any case, I don't give a damn what answers you think you're entitled to!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

UK rejects technical patent/Traffic light patent history

The Register (UK) has a new story about how the UK Patent Office revoked a patent for electronically processing tips on restaurant bills, ruling that the invention was "technical", WITHOUT ONCE AGAIN WHAT THE BLOODY HECK THEY MEAN BY "TECHNICAL". Maybe the UK PO should use crayons for their logical reasoning. The inventor is upset because he had spent 100,000 pounds defending the patent, and then had to sell the patent to a patent broker. Well, you are fool if you spend so much money on an such patent in the UK.
Wired Magazine online has a brief historical inventor news item. In 1923, African American inventor Garrett Morgan gets a patent on a three-section traffic light, which so interests General Electric that they pay Morgan $40,000 for his patent (which inflation-adjusted was good money back then.) GE goes onto to monopolize the traffic signal business for awhile.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The iRobot Trade Secrets Trial

This is interesting: The November 3 edition of the Boston Globe, page D3, has an article about a trade secrets case involving iRobot: In August, iRobot sued Robotic FX, a company founded by former iRobot engineer Jameel Ahed. iRobot claimed that Ahed had used iRobot trade secrets in the building of a robot called the Negotiator, which beat out iRobot's PackBot for a $280 million military contract. After the suit was filed, detectives hired by iRobot witnessed Ahed trying to discard iRobot-related materials. Ahed also acknowledged shredding data CDs and erasing hard drives. Ahed said he was not destroying evidence, but US District Judge Nancy Gertner said his behavior "gives rise to a strong inference of consciousness of guilt" and "profoundly undermines Ahed's credibility as a witness". She granted an injunction, saying Ahed got some of his information from iRobot's trade secrets, but didn't grant a second injunction because she said Ahed got some of his information from iRobot's patent application. The key technology was fairly low-tech - the rubber tracks used to propel the robot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

eBay buys Fraud Sciences

US online auctioning giant eBay and its subsidiary PayPal will soon be better protected from online fraud. This comes after news that PayPal has purchased Israeli online risk tools startup Fraud Sciences for $169 million. The small privately owned company, which only raised $7 million in investment before the buy-out, has developed verification technology for securing commercial transactions on the Internet. Fraud Sciences' technology is designed to uncover fraudulent credit card purchases by verifying that the customer making the purchase is in fact the cardholder. It uses a technique, known as 'identity proofing', which builds on the behavioral practices already used by many online retailers to detect fraud. Tel Aviv based Fraud Sciences was founded in April 2006 by Shvat Shaked, and Saar Wilf. They will be joining PayPal's technology and fraud management teams alongside Fraud Science's COO Yossi Barak. Other Israeli startups that have made the news recently are Modu and YouFig. Investors in Fraud Sciences include Redpoint Ventures, BRM Capital and entrepreneur Eli Barkat, who acquired a 40% stake in the firm for $5 million. He is set to make 12 times that amount in the exit. Fraud Sciences, which will continue to operate out of Israel, had originally intended to raise $11 million in a two-stage financing round, but in the course of due diligence, PayPal offered to buy the company out. eBay and e-commerce enabler PayPal have been facing an increasing battle against online fraud. They plan to use Fraud Science's risk tools and analytics to expose scams and deceptions targeted at their companies, and to accelerate the development of next generation fraud detection tools. Scott Thompson, president of PayPal, said the acquisition of Fraud Sciences fits into eBay's recently announced plans to significantly improve trust and safety across its sites this year. "Integrating Fraud Sciences' risk tools with PayPal's sophisticated fraud management system should allow us to be even more effective in protecting eBay and PayPal's hundreds of millions of customers around the world," he said. This is the second Israeli purchase for Californian Internet auction company eBay and its first purchase of a security technology company. In 2005, the US giant bought price comparison company, for $634 million.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jazz festivals patentable; System a vague term

In this post:

· fun at the typical European anti-software-patent nonsense

· Payment issues in the Hollywood script writers’ strike

· Was the first clickable flashy Web ad used in ..... 1981?

· Patent used to confirm paintings are not Pollock’s

· Would jazz festivals be patentable?

· Is “system” a vague term?

ANTI-SOFTWARE-PATENT NONSENSE IN EUROPE UK attorney David Musker has written a satire of anti-software-patent nonsense in Europe: “The great free bear debate, or what ales the patent system?”. Great satire. He should be appointed head of the EPO Board of Appeals - the decisions, if not more rational, will at least be more entertaining. Read here PAYMENT ISSUES IN THE HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT WRITERS’ STRIKE If you are following the script writers’ strike in Hollywood and New York, one main question is what they are actually arguing about, beyond that the writers want more money. The 1 December issue of the New York Times, page B4, has some specific examples: The [writers’ guild] leaders said, for instance that [the new contract] would pay only $250 for a year’s reuse of an hour-long program streamed on the Web, in contrast to the $20,000 currently paid for a network re-run. The producers have offered writers the same residual rate [for downloaded films and shows] they pay for DVDs, which works out to 0.36 percent of wholesale revenues, which amounts to pennies per DVD but tens of thousands of dollars on the millions of copies of even modest hits; writers are seeking a rate of 2.5 percent. [A writers’ guild leader] said guild leaders were “pleased” to know that [entertainment] companies were now offering an economic package they say will add $130 million to the $1.3 billion they already pay writers. $20,000 - multiples of $10,000 - $130 million - $1.3 billion - large amounts of money for the rights to scripts. Why? Because NEW scripts and their DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF plot PROCESSES, at these levels of money, ARE very CONCRETE, TANGIBLE and USEFUL. :-) WAS THE FIRST CLICKABLE FLASHY WEB AD USED IN ..... 1981? I recently came across a 1981 book on videotext that mentioned something called Adflashes, which seems to have anticipated flashy Web ads by over 10 years: ”The advertisement flash, or ‘adflash’, technique consists of drawing attention to an advertisement on another page by flashing characters to induce you to request that page ..... The adflash technique attempts to mix editorial and advertising in traditional newspaper fashion. However, the reader/viewer for the first time has to press a button to see advertisements, .... The efficacy of adflashes is questionable at this stage in the development of Prestel.” The first clickable Web ad was sold by GNN in 1993 to a law firm, 12 years after adflashes. Another reminder that much of the innovation in the Internet had to do with marketing, not technology - the eternal legacy of Microsoft. PATENT USED TO CONFIRM PAINTINGS ARE NOT POLLOCK’S Tne 29 November 2007 New York Times, page C16, has an article on the disputed authenticity of some recently discovered paintings attributed to Jackson Pollack. In 2002/2003, the son of artists friends of Pollock found, in a storage locker, 32 paintings supposedly done by Pollock. Art experts have been arguing since then if the paintings are authentic or not. The initial art reviewers said they were authentic, but later art experts said they weren’t. One recent study, done by Richard Newman of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, found that for two of the nine paintings Newman looked at, the two paintings contained a pigment first known to have been patented by Ciba-Geigy in 1983. Since Pollock died in 1956, the painting is either not his, or it is one of his painting that has since been altered. There are also mismatches between the paints used in the 32 paintings, and paints found in Pollock’s studio. One for the patent detectives. I remember years ago hearing about a murder case where the murder victim was bound with an unidentifiable type of tape. However there was a number on the tape that detectives realized was a patent number, and used information from the patent in their case. What next - Law and Order - Alexandria? In the first episode, a dead body is found floating in the Potomac with the sign “3(b)” scratched out on the chest by the victim. Oooooooh, sounds mysterious! WOULD JAZZ FESTIVALS, IF NOVEL TODAY, BE PATENTABLE? The November 28 edition of the New York Times, page C12, has an obituary for Elaine Lorillard, a founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, which in turn has inspired jazz festivals around the world. Lorillard was a socialite married to Louis Lorillard, a descendant of Pierre Lorillard, who found the P. Lorillard Tobacco Company in 1760. Here’s the interesting question in light of the questionable illogic of KSR/Graham - if jazz festivals did not exist today (102 novelty for a 101 business method with an easy to create 112 description), would the idea be unobvious enough to be patentable under 103? And if so today, if State Street existed in 1954 (the year of the first Jazz festival), would jazz festivals have been patentable in 1954? First, the motivation for Lorillard to create the jazz festivals. From the obituary: It was a casual remark during intermission at a classical concert in Newport in 1953 that inspired the Lorillards to sponsor the first Newport Jazz Festival. Mrs. Lorillard, already a jazz fan, was seated next to John Maxon, then head of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. ”It’s too bad we can’t do something like this for jazz.”, he said. “That’s another music form that’s worth a big-time festival.” The Lorillards got in touch with George Wein, then the owner of a jazz club in Boston, and asked him to produce that first festival. A priori, let’s assume that the business method of jazz festivals meets 101 via State Street, 102 via no prior art, and 112 via a good lawyer. One simple question remains: are jazz festivals obvious? The examiner issues an Official Notice rejection with little explanation other than citing the prior art of non-jazz outdoor festivals, “obviously” combined with jazz. Indeed, outdoor music festivals have been around for centuries. The applicant comes back and argues, using KSR, “You can’t make that objection, it’s hindsight analysis. After all, its been 50 years since the invention of Jazz (Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton in 1905). It’s a clear failure of others to invent. And 50 years is the length of time the Supreme Court felt comfortable with in Goodyear for something to be unobvious.” Who wins? I quote from Goodyear Tire v. Ray-O-Vac, a 1944 Supreme Court case (321 U.S. 275, 278), which KSR rests on via citation chains: ”We think this case is one of the category of inventions which, when viewed after disclosure and explanation by the applicant, seem simple and such as should have been obvious to those in the field. Yet this does not necessarily [negate] invention or patentability.” The next sentence: ”During a period of a half century .....................” The same half century between the invention of jazz and the existence of outdoor music festivals, and the invention of the outdoor jazz festival. An obvious combination (jazz + outdoor music) or not? Obvious combination or not in light of this foundation language for hindsight bias in Goodyear? And thus, patentable to not? I say patentable. There is too much judicial handwaving going on to try to give meaning to the completely vague 35 USC 103. Inventors should not be penalized for the incompetence of Congress and the courts, and their arrogance that they think they understand “obvious” - they don’t. IS “SYSTEM” A VAGUE TERM? A reader sent in the following paragraph from an Office Action, obviously a less-trained examiner: ”Claims 55-66 recite ‘system’ which is vague and indefinite since a system may be one of several different statutory classes of invention (including a method or an apparatus). Applicant must indicate on the record to what statutory class of invention the system claims belong. For the purposes of this examination these claims are considered apparatus.” How do you respond? “Our system claims are for systems that belong to the statutory class of systems.” “System” claims appear in zillions of patent - articles of manufacture (systems are comprised of multiple manufactured apparati). PTO entanglement should shut up about rules changes until it fixes its many current problems, like Peterlin making it easier for Chinese spies to steal American secrets by bugging the homes of her teleworking examiners. See a previous post on claims.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

YouFig fuses online social networks

Israel's YouFig fuses online social networks (by Karin Kloosterman): Internet applications like Myspace and Facebook have revolutionized the way we socialize. We can reconnect with old flames, share our holiday pictures with the world, play poker with strangers, and share our lives with fans, friends, admirers and co-workers.

With satellite offices sprouting up around the world, and people continually on the go, a new social networking platform built in Israel, and known as YouFig, lets people build ideas and dreams together online. Now in schools in Florida and being tested by a handful of Fortune 500 companies, YouFig creates a virtual community center where people can interact and create online content in a way never before possible.

The company, founded in 2007, says that it is pioneering the evolution of real-time online collaboration. It allows people to mimic classic face-to-face meetings, while taking advantage of networking and group thought."The unique thing about YouFig is that it enables any organization- whether it's a family of a few people or an academic institution - to collaborate any time in real-time on any continent," says YouFig's co-founder Allon Mason.

Now in beta testing mode and set to be released publicly by the end of the year, YouFig provides its members with a virtual workspace. Equipped with tools such as wikis, video conferencing, and instant messaging, YouFig encourages people to work together on any topic and with any type of media such as games, videos, documents, and spreadsheets. YouFig allows people to use and create "widgets," which are small applications that can be easily shared among peers and in other networks.

Funded by ICQ founder Yossi Vardi, an Israeli entrepreneur, and based in Herzliya Pituach, YouFig launched its alpha site last August and its beta site this past January.

"It allows families to create to-do lists together for a camping trip. But it is a great tool for distributed work forces as well," Mason says. "We are talking with news agencies around the world. Our platform could let journalists and editors collaborate and share information in real-time. It's a great way to centralize information on one platform in one organization."

Still in its beta mode, YouFig already has about 60 networking communities, one of which is the London Business School. Its primary target market will be schools in the US however: "The early adopters of technology," says Mason.

The company's business model will be based on an advertising revenue model. In the future, companies and schools will pay to subscribe to private communities that they create, but the cost will be much less than enterprise software, today affordable only to large organizations.

A special edition YouFig for private companies and schools will be called the "White Label." In the meantime, it can be used free of charge.

The nuts and bolts of YouFig is to let people have a space to argue, discuss, collaborate and talk. A user can begin by creating a topic and the application can locate other experts in the field.

Limited to only eight people per discussion group, interaction is intimate and this way the accountability of each member in increased. Users can talk politics, build new video games together, or co-write a script or music video. The sky's the limit, says Mason.

Users may know each other already or seek each other out through YouFig. Collaboration today is limited to wikis and blogs, says Mason. "We think that when people want to collaborate, it can be on any material and medium. Any document, spreadsheet or games... and not limit them.

"YouFig is centralized and fast, and works for organizations of any size," he adds.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ohio's verdict on human memory

OHIO SUPREME COURT ON USEFULNESS OF HUMAN MEMORIES One of the key issue in 101 arguments is the nature of mental states - are they concrete, tangible and useful enough to be patentable, and/or used in patentable processes. A trade secret case in Ohio, Al Minor v. Martin, offers one perspective. One Robert Martin used to work for Al Minor & Associates, and before leaving to start his own firm, he memorized part of the Minor's client list, which he then used to solicit clients for his new firm. Minor sued for trade secret theft. Martin lost at the trial court level, and appealed, arguing that a memorized client list is not a trade secret. An appeals court confirmed the trial court, and thus up to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts that a trade secret theft occurred, ruling that the law didn't specify how the information had to be stored. What's interesting, for the patent world, is the language of part of their ruling: The "determination of whether a client list constitutes a trade secret pursuant to [Section] 1333.61(D) does not depend on whether it has been memorized by a former employee. It is the information that is protected by the [statute], regardless of the manner, mode, or form in which it is stored - whether on paper, in a computer, in one's memory, or in any other medium." Restated in the patenting concept: It is the information that is the patentable as an article of manufacture, regardless of the manner, mode or form in which it is manufactured - whether on paper, in a computer, in one's memory, or in any other medium.

Biopiracy and Agnostic Judges

FIRST INCIDENT OF BIOPIRACY Viking Press has come out with a book "The Thief and the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire", by Joe Jackson, about of Englishman Henry Wickham, who, during the Victorian era, explored the Amazon in search of rubber trees that he had heard about that produced a strong and durable rubber. Having found the trees, he smuggled thousands of the seeds back to England, thus launching a rubber financial boom in the UK (though Wickham himself never profited much financially). Other foodstuffs that have been pirated are turmeric, quinoa and Basmati rice. Regarding Basmati, in September 1997, a Texas company called RiceTec won a patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,663,484) on basmati rice lines and grains. The patent secures lines of basmati and basmati-like rice and ways of analyzing that rice. RiceTec, owned by Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein, faced international outrage over allegations of biopiracy. Both voluntarily and due to review decisions by the United States Patent Office, RiceTec has lost most of the claims of the patent, including, most importantly, the right to call their rice lines "basmati." This was a significant victory for India, whose farmers faced enormous economic losses that would have been caused by the patent.

In patent law, one common misunderstanding is that pharmaceutical companies patent the plants they collect. Consider also that it is impossible to patent naturally occurring organisms. However, patents may be taken out on specific chemicals isolated or developed from plants, often in combination with a stated and researched use of those chemicals. Generally the existence, structure and synthesis of those compounds is not a part of the indigenous medical knowledge that led researchers to analyze the plant in the first place. As a result, even if the indigenous medical knowledge is taken as prior art, that knowledge does not by itself make the active chemical compound "obvious," which is the standard applied under patent law.

In the United States, patent law can be used to protect "isolated and purified" compounds. In 1873, Louis Pasteur patented a "yeast" which was "free from disease" (US Patent No. 141,072). Patents covering biological inventions have been treated similarly. In the 1980, the case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the Supreme Court upheld a patent on a bacterium that had been genetically modified to consume petroleum, reasoning that U.S. law permits patents on "anything under the sun that is made by man." The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has observed that "a patent on a gene covers the isolated and purified gene but does not cover the gene as it occurs in nature".

Also possible under U.S. law is to patent a cultivar, a new variety of an existing organism. The patent on the Enola bean is an example of this sort of patent. The intellectual property laws of the US also recognize plant breeders' rights under the Plant Variety Protection Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2321-2582.

AMERICANS MIGHT NEED AN AGNOSTIC SUPREME COURT JUDGE Since the Supreme Court is also representative of American thought, it appears as having too many men, and too many white people (and thus too many white men). A recent Pew religious survey of America found that 16% of Americans are not religious. They are agnostic, atheist. That means one out of six Americans, and slowly rising. Since there are nine Supreme Court judges, that might call for one Justice being not religious. Food for thought, or for an AM radio talk show.

Dude lies before Congress on telework

Last Feb. 29 Jon Dudas lied before Berman's Congressional committee. On Wednesday, Jon Dudas spoke before Berman's Congressional committee with regards to patent quality, at a hearing on patent examination operations at the PTO. Some of his testimony included lies about patent quality. Dudas do so because he knows that Berman and others really don't care enough about patent quality to ask any serious questions to expose Dudas' lies. Dudas, as a former Congressional aide, knows that Congressional aides such as Berman's are not competent in patent examination workflow logistics to know how to prepare challenging questions for Dudas. He claimed that USPTO IMPLEMENTED NEARLY FULL-TIME TELEWORKING FOR PATENT EXAMINERS - WENT FROM ZERO TO MORE THAN A THOUSAND PATENT EXAMINERS WORKING NEARLY FULL-TIME FROM HOME This perversely undermines the already compromised patent quality. My first act as PTO Director will be to rebuild PTO libaries of prior art. Oh wait, illogistically difficult to use these libraries from homework. Look folks, if this was really practical, I would be teleworking in Miami. But I don't, since they don't have the university libraries of the Boston and San Francisco areas. Also, telework can be an invitation to Chinese spies to get access to many technological secrets much more easily than they can by infiltrating U.S. government agencies directly. The FBI just arrested a few spies trying to do that at the Defense Department. Thanks for the thought: Uncommon

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lunar Design for Modu

Lunar Design a leader in consumer, technology and medical product design announced today its collaboration with the latest innovator in the mobile phone industry, modu (see post).

Lunar Design's credentials include designs for leading innovators, such as Apple, SanDisk, Hewlett Packard and Oral B. Lunar along with the modu design team have given shape to the modu vision.

Lunar's challenge was to create a design that expresses modu's differences. "The modu is the core component of an ecosystem. Rather than just design a shrunken mobile phone, we wanted to create a memorable and jewel-like symbol for modu," said John Edson, Lunar Design president. "The phone is crafted from super durable stainless steel, and visually it has what we call 'thumbnail equity,' i.e. the simple form and domino dot pattern are still recognizable from a distance."

Lunar designed some of the first fashionable jackets announced in conjunction with February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: a set of music jackets and an entertainment jacket. For these products, Lunar extended the symbol of the modu into products that are designed to appeal to the edgy young and hip market.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lego-style Cellphone Is Here

Move Over iPhone - DIY Cellphones Are Coming. The lure of Apple's iPhone notwithstanding, most cell phones today are essentially variations on the same theme. Not so modu, a tiny, modular phone that is designed to be snapped into other devices.

Resembling a black and white domino, the modu is smaller than a credit card and weighs just 1.3 ounces. It can be used on its own as a fully functional mobile phone, or it can be snapped into a variety of interchangeable 'sleeves' that enhance the phone with other capabilities. By slipping a modu into the modu media mate, for example, users can download and share movie clips with their friends. Inserting it in the modu music slider, on the other hand, transforms it into a high-end music phone equipped with dedicated music functionality keys, high-quality loudspeaker and hidden camera. modu night mate lets users dock their phone next to their bed while it quietly displays their incoming SMS messages and calls. Through a partnership with Universal Music Group, a series of music jackets will include artist-specific attributes and access to preloaded content and music subscriptions. modu features 1GB of built-in memory and Bluetooth connectivity, and can also be used as a mass storage device. The first modu products are due in the fourth quarter of this year; prices, reportedly, will be USD 200 for the phone module bundled with two jackets, with additional jackets priced from USD 20 to USD 60 each.

Israeli modu was founded in 2007 by Dov Moran, founder and CEO of USB flash drive maker msystems, and the modu device was unveiled earlier this month. Strategic partners include leading mobile network operators including Telecom Italia's mobile division TIM, BeeLine (VimpelCom) of Russia and Israel's Cellcom along with mainstream consumer electronics manufacturers including Blaupunkt, the company says. Opportunities include degrees of customization that were previously unthinkable.

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