Monday, October 26, 2009

A patent: a time wasted or not

A comment from an inventor questioning whether or not to waste his time and money filing a patent (and disclosing his innovation), if he is going to get screwed by the PTO:

Personally I have been pausing in the wings before I submit several
patent applications, so that I am reasonably assured that it is
worth the time and effort to do so. It may very well be that I am
better off not filing anything at all, if the applications can be
construed as just revealing what I have invented, with very few
options if it costs too much to respond to the PTO, and thus very
little value conferred by doing so.

A great issue for the AIPLA, IPO, or ABA, if any of these groups actually
cared about everyone's interest in a healthy patent system.

If the Patent Reform efforts succeed, we are all just dog meat,
after all, and all of my efforts and my money spent trying to
acquire a US patent will be for naught. Somewhat frustrating, when
I sincerely believe that I have much to contribute in the alternative
energy field.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How PTO management incompetence is destroying small companies

Someone sent in the following ancedote, which is heard way too

I was at an open house for a small IP law firm about a month ago and
was talking to the IP/research VP of a small biotech. They are a
start-up who have been waiting just over 2 years and still haven't
got a First Action on the Merits on their lead invention. They have
had to let almost everyone go and they are just holding on waiting
for that critical patent. It is so sad.

I am hearing this lament more and more, from biotech startups, software
startups, alternative energy startups. Because of PTO delays, they are
having to abandon patent applications, cripple their companies, and delay
hitting the markets with their products. Patent quality? It's suffering,
as everyone inside and outside the PTO is cutting back on searches (well,
that's more crap to bust in the future for me, though there is already
enough such crap).

If you have more such stories, please send them my way. Congress and the
Obama Administration need to hear this suffering, otherwise it is a waste
of billions of taxpayers' dollars to fund new energy/IT technologies, if
the startups, where much of the innovation will come from, can't protect
their breakthroughs in a timely matter. Otherwise, it is another signal
that the Obama Administration is pursuing an industrial policy that
favors large companies.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How John swapped steel plates

steel plate for roadwork and prosthesis John was working for a utility company. One day they were burying a cable, and needed to temporarily cover an excavated pit. To cover they used what you might have seen and probably driven over - a large steel plate. John was a foreman at the site, and told his backhoe operator to start lowering the plate into place.
Except John was a diligent foreman. He liked to do things perfectly. He wanted to be sure that the steel plate would sit well over the outline of the excavation, not wobble, and not crumble asphalt and rock onto the half-finished cable interface. Just as the plate was being lowered, he decided to sneak one last peek under the plate. Except the backhoe operator was not so experienced at fine controlling the lowering function, and lowered the plate by too jerky of a motion, which squashed John the Foreman's skull. As John recollected, after almost a year in a wheel chair, and partial memory loss, the split second he felt the weight of the plate was like the worst headache, except being inside his skull bones. John is 80% normal now. He cannot drive, concentrate, remember complicated information, and has a high-tech, combination stainless steel-titanium plate replacing most of his skull dome. The upshot of it, he has not needed any psychological counseling. He doesn't remember the details of his stupid decision to regret the whole episode.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Luna Innovations cheats trade secrets, fined more than its worth

trade secrets fraud and lawsuit In a lawsuit similar to Tesla Motors vs. Fisker, Virginia-based Luna Innovations has to pay $36 million to Bay Area company Hansen Medical. The jury found that Luna had broken its agreement to help Hansen develop a robotic catheter and illegally used trade secrets to obtain a contract with Hansen's competitor instead. Hansen was represented by Morrison & Foerster. The jury awarded this large amount, despite audits attesting to the fact that Luna only had a market capitalization of $20 million, and would probably cease to exist after complying with the court's decision. National Law Journal, 27 April, 2009, page 13

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Also Christians come out against patent reform

hi-tech cross and electronic crucifix
A group of generally conservative Christians have written to Congress, opposing this year's patent reform bill:
- "To put the matter plainly, this bill is written to devalue patents" - "We cannot afford to jeopardize what is in effect America's balance sheet with an ill-advised, special-interest bill, particularly in the midst of a severe economic crisis." - "The proposed system [post-grant review] would expose patent holders to a perpetual threat of abusive, serial attacks, and, as a result, undermine the benefits of patent ownership for patent-holders and their financial backers." - "In effect, the bill invites an infringe-now-and-(maybe)-pay-later business strategy [the effect of apportioned damages], which destroys the "exclusive use" given to the patent ..."
(From Opposition Mounts to Patent Reform Act of 2009, Kevin L. Kearns, March 18, 2009) Dear Senators Reid and McConnell, Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Boehner: We are writing to ask you to strongly oppose the passage of The Patent Reform Act of 2009, S. 515 and HR. 1260, legislation sponsored by Senator Leahy and Rep. Conyers, respectively. These bills, under the mantle of "reform", will actually severely damage U.S. international competitiveness and threaten most American businesses - along with the jobs they create - by undermining America's historically strong intellectual property rights. This legislation will threaten America's smaller inventors, large and small domestic manufacturers, venture capitalists, agricultural entities, biotech and pharmaceutical firms, non-profit research consortia, and research universities, among others. Downgrading patent rights - which are fundamentally property rights - will seriously constrict innovation and the ability of domestic manufacturers to turn good ideas into products consumer want, and thus good jobs for working Americans. A series of U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions have already shifted the legal balance of power to favor patent users, tightening standards of patentability and narrowing patent rights and remedies. These judicial reforms eliminate any need for sweeping legislative changes to the patent system. Foreign interests, who for years have been trying to slow America's innovation engine through measures to weaken and devalue patent rights, are very happy with the proposed changes. In fact, commentary by patent experts in the Chinese and Indian press indicates they believe that intellectual property theft will be much easier under the proposed bill. Unfortunately, these foreign experts are correct in their assessment. Yongshun Chen, former Senior Judge and Deputy Director of the Intellectual Property Division of Beijing High People's Court China, said this about the patent bill: "This bill will give companies from developing countries more freedom and flexibility to challenge the relative U.S. patent for doing business in the U.S. and make it less costly to infringe.... The bill will weaken the rights of patentees greatly, increase their burden, and reduce the remedies for infringement" (Intellectual Property News, November 2007). This bill will lead to many additional American factories and jobs, even entire industries, being lost to overseas competitors. During this economic recession, more market uncertainty is the last thing that our economy needs. To put the matter plainly, this bill is written to devalue patents - to the detriment of almost every industrial, service, and financial sector of the economy. Certain high-tech companies who are pushing this bill want to make it cheaper and easier to infringe others' patents. But Congress should safeguard innovation as the backbone of our economy and reject this legislation. The patent system is rooted in the Constitution. Congress is charged with "securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries". The Founders understood that protection of intellectual property was vital to innovation and progress. James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, "The utility of this power will scarcely be questioned." Yet, today it is being threatened in the Congress. Small enterprises often drive innovation. About one-third of all patent applications are made by independent inventors, small companies, universities, and nonprofit research groups. Small businesses produce more patents per employee than larger businesses, and small-firm patents are more "innovative" and technologically important than large firm patents. Because small firms must work with others to commercialize and manufacture their innovations, they need strong patents to realize a return on investment. American manufacturers do about 65 percent of the R&D in this country and hold 60 percent of the patents. Over the last 40 years, we have witnessed a startling transformation of our economy. Whereas previously about two-thirds of a company's wealth was in physical assets, such as land, buildings, and machinery, now the opposite is true. The vast majority of a company's worth is in its intellectual property, not its physical assets. We cannot afford to jeopardize what is in effect America's balance sheet with an ill-advised, special-interest bill, particularly in the midst of a severe economic crisis. The legislation creates a new, expensive quasi-judicial system within the USPTO to challenge the validity of a patent throughout its entire life. The proposed system would expose patent holders to a perpetual threat of abusive, serial attacks, and, as a result, undermine the benefits of patent ownership for patent-holders and their financial backers. In addition, it would create even greater operational challenges within the USPTO. Incentives to seek patents would be weakened, and venture capitalists, who supply the life blood of the patent system with their investment monies, would face far higher risks when backing new ideas. The Leahy bill raises multiple barriers to independent innovation. The pending legislation would also make it harder for patent-holders to enforce their rights or win just compensation from those who steal their ideas. Under the bill, it would be harder to prove "willful" infringement, which serves as an important deterrent to deliberate theft. Perhaps, most significantly, the bill strikes at the very core of the patent system by changing the way infringement and resulting damages are treated. Instead of restoring the pre-infringement parity between the patent holder and the potential licensee, the bill calculates damages in an after-the-fact manner that lessens the value assigned to patents in most products. It throws out the window the venerable Georgia Pacific case and with its time-tested factors in determining a patent's value. In effect, the bill invites an infringe-now-and-(maybe)-pay-later business strategy, which destroys the "exclusive use" given to the patentee by the Constitution and the risk/reward ratio that has so successfully driven American innovation for over two centuries. According to a recent study, the proposed damages amendment would reduce the value of U.S. patents by as much as $85.3 billion; reduce R&D expenditures by up to $66 billion per year; and potentially cost the U.S. economy 298,000 manufacturing jobs. This bill is bad for American businesses; it is bad for American workers; it is bad for American inventors; it is bad for American research universities; thus it is bad for America. We ask that you oppose this legislation, protect the property rights enshrined in the Constitution, and preserve a patent system that for over 200 years has provided great technological advances, material progress, and a high standard of living for all Americans. Thank you for your serious consideration of our views. Sincerely, Kevin Kearns, US Business and Industry Council David Keane, American Conservative Union Rev. Lou Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America Susan Carleson, American Civil Rights Union Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family. Property, Inc. Harry Valentine, Capitol Hill Prayer Alert Barrett Duke, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention Gary Aldrich, CNP Action, Inc John Kwapisz, VA Coalition for Common Sense on Climate Change Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum Morton Blackwell, Conservative Leadership PAC Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy Colin A. Hanna, Let Freedom Ring Ron Pearson, Council for America Jeffrey Gayner, Americans for Sovereignty Alex St. James, AARLC Organization Connie Marshner, American Family Business Institute Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America Carmen Mercer, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Mark de Bernardo, Council for Employment Law and Equality Laszlo Pasztor, National Federation of American Hungarians Kevin L. Kearns is President of The United States Business and Industry Council. Prior to joining USBIC in 1993, he was a Senior Fellow at the Manufacturing Policy Project, a Washington, DC think tank. For 13 years before that he was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with overseas assignments in Germany, Korea, and Japan, where he witnessed firsthand the operation of highly cartelized, mercantilist economies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

120 AC to 12 DC, an RV, a lamp chord and a child

dumb behavior leading to death This warning sign is unintentionally appropriate to this case. Since I am an investigator, I usually have no idea what an insurance company is hoping to find out when they ask me to look into a case. My job was to check over the location and have the law enforcement that was involved in the investigation to corroborate the circumstances of the accident. I have posted minor details of this case on forums, but here I am providing the account in its entirety. A man takes his family to a Winnebago camping site. After long winter, the engine was a bit hard to start and that caused the battery to go weak. He arrives at the site, hooks up his Winnebago to the site's utilities, and remembers to charge up the battery. Except he is totally ignorant of electrical basics. As he recounted to a sheriff's deputy, he believed that he could charge the battery (12 DC) from the power company outlet (120 AC), because someone told him that "AC and DC don't matter" since "the difference is canceled by the RMS voltage." (not true, since Root Mean Square voltage is only an aspect of AC current). Thus he genuinely believed that 120 volts would charge a 12 volt battery in a giffy. All he needed was a small capacitor converter that "would stop sparks" when he would connect the battery to the lamp chord he had ready. Except he left the lamp chord plugged into the wall socket, and live. One lead was touching the aluminum molding on the Winnebago's Masonite interior. By this time the man's teenage son was already done dipping in a pond that was less than 10 feet from his Winnebago. Barefoot, he stepped onto the metal running board, got electrocuted, spasmed and staggered backwards into the 3-foot deep water, and drowned. When his son had been missing for more than 4 hours, the electricity genius father and his wife called the county sheriff's office. The deputy asked simple questions, retraced the man's story and within 15 minutes found the boy in the water.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Cross Coalition and Its Star Chamber Letter About Patent Battle

Cross Coalition: The Star Chamber of Chamber of Commerce?
This is an interesting turn in the patent reform battle: The Cross Coalition, a group of companies doing business in green and environmental technologies wrote to Congress opposing the proposed patent reform bill. The Coalition is made up of big biochem companies, startups and similar environmental technology operations. The self-hype about anything green in Washington, the Cross Coalition might just succeed. This is similar to a letter that 430 bio and green companies wrote to Congress in 2007, also opposing the patent reform bill. These patent reform bills should be dumped until a new PTO Director can be installed and can put together respectable consensus within the patent world. The text of the Cross Coalition's letter:
We write today regarding the importance of the United States patent system to our transition to a clean energy economy. Our companies and those we represent are committed to nurturing the innovation pipeline and subsequent domestic manufacturing capacity that will build the next generation of energy efficient, renewable energy, and renewable fuel technologies, creating thousands of American jobs in the process. However, we are concerned with recent legislative proposals to make fundamental changes to the US patent system that we believe would weaken, rather than strengthen, patent protection, putting this innovation pipeline and subsequent American manufacturing capacity at risk. The patent reform legislation that has been introduced would reduce penalties for patent infringement by changing the law of damages. This change would elevate the importance of one of the factors now considered in calculating patent damages. By giving this one factor - apportionment - a preeminent position in damage calculations, proponents of the legislation would have achieved the goal of reducing damage awards. This type of reduction in the value of intellectual property rights could adversely affect the future of our industries in the United States in two ways. First, in order to meet the demands of a low-carbon energy future, the need for innovation in the areas of energy efficiency, energy crops, advanced biofuels, renewable energy, renewable fuels, carbon capture and storage, and environmental technologies is great. Our ability to rapidly innovate in these sectors is critical to ensuring that we and others will be able to effectively meet our mutual goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, thereby reducing the impact of global climate change and reinvigorating the American economy with the creation of green jobs. A significant reduction, or elimination of much of the value of the intellectual property that will be generated through this process will have an effect on the availability of the venture capital required, decreasing the speed at which innovation will occur. Second, we anticipate that our economy will flourish as innovation in environmental and climate technology sectors drives the creation of green jobs. Our companies and our members create these jobs as we manufacture and market our patented products and technologies to domestic and international customers. If the current patent system is modified, making it less costly to infringe on existing or future patent rights, we anticipate that our competitive advantage in the global marketplace will be reduced, impacting the creation of green jobs. As proposals are made to change the U.S. patent system, we encourage you to take into account the impact of these proposals on the viability of our burgeoning green economy and its associated green jobs, as well as our ability to attract the capital required to innovate at the necessary pace to effectively combat global climate change. Drastic changes, such as reducing penalties for patent infringement, will only discourage innovation, resulting in reduced investment and lost jobs at a time when the country can least afford it. We believe the American patent system is the best in the world and we look forward to working with you to ensure that it becomes even stronger. Thereby we can continue to encourage the kind of investment, product creation, and job creation that has been the hallmark of our economy for decades, and will ultimately drive our ability to meet the challenges posed by global climate change. Thank you for considering our views on an issue of fundamental significance to innovation in America.
Members of the coalition include: American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) - Washington, DC Biomass Coordinating Council - Washington, DC Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition - Darnestown, MD EESTech Inc. - Chino Valley, AZ Southwest Windpower - Flagstaff, AZ Ceres, Inc. - Thousand Oaks, CA Fallbrook Technologies Inc. - San Diego, CA Viryd Technologies Inc. - San Diego, CA Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. - Hayward, CA IP Checkups, Inc. - Berkeley, CA Environmental Energy Solutions - West Hartford, CT GreenWorld, LLC - Arvada, CO DuPont - Wilmington, DE EarthLinked Technologies - Lakeland, FL International Applied Engineering, Inc. - Marietta, GA Unicoi Energy Services - Marietta, GA Industrial Resource Group, LLC - Schererville, IN Konarka Technologies, Inc. - Lowell, MA Syngenta - Golden Valley, MN Monsanto - St. Louis, MO Solutia Inc. - St. Louis, MO Energy and Environment Research Center (EERC) - Grand Forks, ND Greentech Capital Advisors - New York, NY ECR International, Inc. - Utica, NY ArborGen, LLC - Summerville, SC PetroTex - Cedar Hill, TX The Stella Group, Ltd - Arlington, VA Powered Green LLC - Madison, WI Terra Moya Aqua, Inc. - Cheyenne, WY

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Germany rejects Saudi's cruel chip patent

cruel Moslem reality The whole concept of patents is to benefit public, to make people's lives easier and to help advance progress. This patent application for something altogether opposite. News across WWW and print say (like here, for example) that last Friday the German Patent Office rejected a patent application from a Saudi inventor which claims implanted semiconductors under the skins of visitors to the kingdom, and remotely killing them if they misbehave. The chip also tracks immigrants using a GPS module to locate any visa violators. The crowning touch of the patent application is the chip's cyanide releasable by remote control to kill people if they become a security risk.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The anatomy of chainsaw respect fail

this is an impressive chainsaw master This recent incident with a chain saw (a Michigan man accidentally hits his wife with a chainsaw, his sheriff's deputy neighbor is quick to responds to the scene, but it was too late) resembles the poor judgment using a chain saw in one of my cases: A man was doing minor yard work using his lightweight chain saw. After his was done, he realized he always wanted to trim unsightly boards protruding from his patio and abutting the side of his house masonry. He thought he could just nip the boards with the round end of the chain saw. Except he underestimated that physics of the chainsaw. As soon as he revved it up and touched a board, in a blink of an eye that chainsaw's round end bit the board, climbed onto the masonry and hit the man on his face, to the side of his nose. He was very lucky that he and his family agreed to the full reconstructive cosmetic surgery, which was very professional. It has bee less than a year and he has very little marks left that would testify to the violent accident. He says he never suspected chainsaws to have the unpredictable tendency to kick back.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MUZIIC, the new music tool that streams music from Youtube videos

 Muziic strips and streams music from Youtube videos throws a curve ball in the copyright wars by offering a simple to use interface to all of the music in videos posted to YouTube. You can use Muziic to stream music without having to view videos. Let's sit back and see how long it takes YouTube and the music studios to assault this enterprise. Enjoy it while it lasts, though!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How a senator blocked a Nevada businessman from trade marking the phrase "Last Best Place."

Baucus inserted language in the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus appropriation bill that would prohibit the slogan "Last Best Place," which is an unofficial motto of Montana, from being trademarked.
"Trying to trademark "The Last Best Place" is as ludicrous as someone trying to patent a Montana sunset," Baucus said. "If I have to insert this provision for the next 20 years, I will because that is how important this saying is to our state."
He and the businessman have slugged out over the trademark since 2002, when Nevada businessman David Lipson tried to gain exclusive rights to the term for his Paw's Up lodge in the Blackfoot Valley. Baucus' provision would prohibit using any funds to approve the trade mark, effectively killing any chance of the slogan being trademarked. Baucus has included similar provisions in past appropriations bills.
"When you walk down a main street in any Montana town, or have a good conversation at a coffee shop, you know Montana truly is "The Last Best Place," Baucus said. "And folks should be free to use that to describe our great state."
Senator Jon Tester supported Baucus' measure. "As a third generation Montana farmer, I know that folks in our state treasure our status as The Last Best Place," said Tester. "Montana's slogan isn't for sale."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Greeks put up their Museum of Hellenistic Inventions in a port for love boats

International Travel News is a low-profile but very informative monthly travel newspaper. It has reported on the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, which has two floors of models of early Greek inventions, located in the Ilia region of the Peloponnese Archipelago of Greece, in the town of Katakolo, the port call for cruise ship day trips to Olympia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Homeopathic treatment for Divorce: voodoo flower essence

The concoction called Surprise Shock Divorce Combination essence I found here ( was tested by a friend at his lab's HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) Releasing Divorce/ Loss Anger essence ( reveals chromatographs no different than the Shock Divorce essence above.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Homeopathy: a huge molecule of a funny flower

how could this be a holistic flower? Using expedient generalization, I told the "doctor" about high molecular weight molecules having little chance of making it into the homeo dilutions, the "doctor', having no background in math or chemistry, conveniently abandoned the defense of the unique protein dilution, and stated that high dilutions which have no chance of retaining a single original molecule do preserve the memory of the molecule. I requested any scientific article showing experiments with water having memory. It is a very fair request: after all, scientists dedicated lifetimes to studying seemingly small, insignificant aspects of water's chemical properties. Surely, homeopathy should be basing its hydro-memory facts on years of research using at least atomic-, and ultraviolet- absorption, mass spectrometry gravity and high pressure liquid chromatography.
The homeodoctor quickly showed me to this passage "...succussion whereby the energetic blueprint or pattern of the substance is held in the remedy but without any of the original material." -no empirical data exists to substantiate this belief. from this site which is highly popular with patients. I offered a bait (a hypothetical scenario) that in the case of having to recover from mercury exposure, a patient would be given a dilution or succussion of mercury. The homeodoctor agreed(!) To which I offered that the succussion probably no longer contains a single ion (they forgot the existence of such) of mercury, and such a patient would be better off saving money and drinking municipal, (somewhat contaminated enough to contain sadi mercury) water from a kitchen faucet. He let out genuine laugh and grew thoughtful. QED. Enough said.
Homeopathy treats the individual rather than the disease so the range of conditions that can be helped is huge! Whilst a diagnosis can seem useful, in homeopathy it is rare that the same complaint is always treated with the same remedy
here is a good example:
A 30X ( 1:1000) dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy's "law of infinitesimals" is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness. Robert L. Park, Ph.D., a prominent physicist who is executive director of The American Physical Society, has noted that since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule, a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water. This would require a container more than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth. Actually, the laws of chemistry state that there is a limit to the dilution that can be made without losing the original substance altogether. This limit, which is related to Avogadro's number, corresponds to homeopathic potency of 12C or 24X (1 part in 1024). Hahnemann himself realized that there is virtually no chance that even one molecule of original substance would remain after extreme dilutions. But he believed that the vigorous shaking or pulverizing with each step of dilution leaves behind a "spirit-like" essence—"no longer perceptible to the senses"—which cures by reviving the body's "vital force." Modern proponents assert that even when the last molecule is gone, a "memory" of the substance is retained. This notion is unsubstantiated. Moreover, if it were true, every substance encountered by a molecule of water might imprint an "essence" that could exert powerful (and unpredictable) medicinal effects when ingested by a person.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Skilled immigrants are returning to their native countries

The first article is from the 16 March 2009 edition of Business Week, page 68, by Vivek Wadhwa America's Immigrant Brain Drain. His discussion focuses mainly on Chinese and Indian skilled immigrants, and their reasons for returning to their native countries are simple - better quality of life (even at a lower average pay), better career prospects (China is figuring out how much it will grow this year, not whether it will grow or fall, and growth creates careers), and the comfort of family and friends. Immigrants have started 52% of Silicon Valley's tech companies, and get many of the Masters and PhDs awarded in science and engineering. And demand for their skills is growing in their home countries. So why can this be bad for America's economy? The ominous portend of this trend is discussed in the second article that appears in the March 7th edition of the Economist, in an article on page 84 Give my your scientists ... - restricting the immigration of highly skilled workers will hurt America's ability to innovate. A few paragraphs that make use of patent data in an interesting way:
Addressing these issues requires data on just how inventive immigrants are, a question that until recently was the province of educated guesswork. But William Kerr, an economist at Harvard Business School, used name-matching software to identify the ethnicity of each of the 8 million scientists who had acquired an American patent since 1975. He found that the share of patents awarded to scientists born in America fell between 1975 and 2004. The share of all patents given to scientists of Chinese and Indian descent living in America more than tripled, from 4.1% in the second half of the 1970s to 13.9% in the years between 2000 and 2004. Nearly 40% of patents filed in 2005 by Intel, a silicon chip maker, were for work done by people of Chinese or Indian origin. Some of these patents may have been awarded to American-born children of earlier immigrants, but Mr. Kerr reckons that most changes over time arise from fresh immigration. What of the criticism that these workers are displacing native scientists who would have been just as inventive? To address this, Mr. Kerr and William Lincoln, an economist at the University of Michigan, used data on how patents responded to periodic changes in the number of H1B entrants. If immigrants were merely displacing natives, increases in the H1B quota should not have let to increases in innovation. But Kerr and Lincoln found that when the federal government increased the number of people allowed in under the program by 10%, total patenting increased by around 2% in the short run. This was driven mainly by more patenting by immigrant scientists. But even patenting by native scientists increased slightly, rather than decreasing as proponents of crowding out would have predicted

Friday, April 3, 2009

Medical insurance call: a case of iridology

iridology of iris and eye The economic crisis apparently has an effect on my business: the patent consultancy has been falling off, and there is a notable increase in the demand to settle alternative medicine cases. It's all logical - people have less capital to secure their intellectual property, and less capital for conventional medical treatment. Hence, they turn to the soothsayers of the alternative medicine, which in the end are as brutal on the bank account as conventional medicine. The most recent case is that of iridology. The state insurance commission called me with the case of a patient that started to combine ear-nose-and-throat MD visits with visits to an iridologist. The lab tests for the last year showed plenty of vitamins, iron and a good liver profile. The patient complained of sinusitis, which really was a reaction to dry, furnace heating-dried air. Yet the iridologist decided that the patient's iris indicated a lack of selenium (!) as well as iron, which was responsible for the stuffy nose. The patient stopped going through with the MD's prescribed, over-the-counter treatments, and made other decisions that complicated medical insurance claims, and prompted me being called onto the scene. I immediately advise the patient to start using a vaporizer, which she had (ultrasonic), and she found a good deal on a hot-water vaporizer that can be attached to the furnace. She immediately reported relief in breathing through her nose. I made an appointment with the iridologist, and made a usual request for a free advice. In the process, I asked the iridologist very basic questions, which challenged the laughable principles of the scam:
  1. the founder of the iridology did not know enough about owl's eyes to start making deductions about human eye;
  2. the iris is an island in the middle of the eye, relying on the air for oxygen absorption, and on the nutrients seeping through the glassy matter of the eye;
  3. the only physical connection to the rest of the body is a nerve that controls dilation of the pupil.
  4. iridology has had no clue of the selenium inside the human body, for the last 150 years.
The iridologist has failed to show me the presence of iridology research materials analyzing the ENT problems. Nor did the iridologist produce any publications that are peer reviewed. She referred me to many of internet web sites that brag about case stories (not studies) where diagnoses were made using the owl's eye ideology of the scam's author, with no other lab or doctor-administered tests. I also challenged the iridologist to explain the difference between the iridology assessment of the selenium and iron deficiency, and the professional alb results consistently showing the contrary. That prompted the iridologist to say that iridologists and their patients are successful "because they have faith in it." QED. Case finished.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To buy or not to buy WordLogic

BUY: J. David Stewart, Analyst and Publisher, of the The Stewart Report (see this post) - A 25-year veteran of Wall Street, J. David Stewart is also a private professional investor, stock analyst and publisher of The Stewart Report (now in its 15th year of continuous publication). His acumen as an analyst specializing in small and micro-cap securities has earned him wide media attention, including feature stories in: Money, Fortune and Entrepreneur. He's also been quoted in The Washington Post, The Financial Post, The New York Times, The Financial Digest, Investor's Business Daily, The Dick Davis Digest and Barron's. The impact of his thinking is regularly reported in wire service dispatches by CBS Market Watch, Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones News Service, and he is a frequent guest on national radio and television shows, including CNN. WordLogic Corporation's chart is one of the strongest I've seen in months. Admittedly, the recent market environment has resulted in a lot of very sickly looking stock charts, so I've been seeing some pretty bad stuff - but this picture would look outstanding even if I had nothing but bull-market winners to compare it to. After giving up roughly 90 percent of its value during the broad swoon that befell the entire market during 2008, WordLogic started bucking the general trend in early November and spent the next two months building a solid base from which to launch a New Year's rally - one that easily penetrated the short- (20-day), intermediate- (40-day) and long-term (180-day) moving averages, as well as a declining trend line that had represented minor upside resistance for more than six months. Since the beginning of the year, the stock has gained more than 200 percent, culminating on January 20 with a gap opening and subsequent move that tested the major resistance around 85 cents. Given the strong recent rally, I'd look for the stock to fail in this first attempt to break through that barrier, retrace to fill the gap on some short-term profit taking, then launch a rebound that will not only crack the major resistance but carry all the way to the $1.05-$1.10 level. If that takes some time, new resistance could build beyond that point - but if the stock gets there quickly, a further move carrying back to the 52-week high should follow close behind. The former Managing Editor of The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Larry D. Spears has served as editor for America's foremost political and economic columnists, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Buchwald. As Editor of the Hume MoneyLetter, he polished the works of financial luminaries ranging from J. David Stewart to Wall Street Week host Louis Rukeyser and former U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon. He also authored and edited "The SuperInvestor Files" for Hume Publishing and created the "100 Steps to Wealth" home-study course for Money Magazine. Currently, he is Editor-in-Chief for The Stewart Report and continues to specialize in the use of technical analysis and options trading, having authored four books on those subjects.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Intellectual Ventures buys up Transmeta's portfolio

Intellectual Ventures Symbol a typical Transmeta idea It is a rather interesting time to buy a microprocessor patent portfolio. Tech PC sales and related probably will drop a bit in 2009. From an article by Rick Merritt in EE Times, (01/28/2009 9:02 PM EST):
SAN JOSE, Calif. ‹ Intellectual Ventures, a patent development and licensing company, has acquired the patent portfolio of Transmeta Corp., a startup that made an unsuccessful bid to develop x86-compatible processors. The portfolio includes more than 140 issued U.S. patents and others pending and issued in the U.S. and elsewhere. The announcement comes as Novafora Inc., a venture-backed company founded in 2004, said it completed the $255.6 million acquisition of Transmeta originally announced in November. Novafora will use Transmeta's technology to boost its video processor designs; Intellectual Ventures will license the Transmeta technology on a non-exclusive basis. "The acquisition of the Transmeta semiconductor patents augments one of the most comprehensive patent portfolios in the semiconductor field which now includes more than 2,000 patents," said Paul Reidy, vice president of semiconductor licensing at Intellectual Ventures. "Some of the recently issued patents detail some of the most interesting breakthroughs in microprocessor architecture we've seen in the last decade or so," he added in a press statement. Transmeta had generated royalty revenues of about $300 million licensing its patents on areas such as low-power processors and code translation to chip makers including Intel Corp. Novafora did not indicate what role the patent transaction played in its purchase of Transmeta. "The addition of Transmeta's power management technology to our video processor will enable us to target Novafora's products to the broadest range of video-oriented devices," said Zaki Rakib, chief executive of Novafora. In November, Novafora announced it entered into a non-exclusive patent license agreement with Advanced Micro Devices. Under the terms of the agreement, AMD transferred to Transmeta 700,000 shares of Transmeta's Series B Preferred Stock held by AMD.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Incredible Books from '40-'50's, part 3 of 3

Innocent, professionally written, non-globalist and classic reading from the cozy 1950's SCIENCE IN OUR LIVES Ritchie Calder. An exciting, factual story of the beginning and development of modern science, the relationship between its special fields -astronomy, chemistry, physics, biology -and its impact upon our daily lives. THE HANDY BOOK OF GARDENING Albert Ii. Wilkinson and Victor A. Tiedjens. New edition of the famous book on how to grow flowers and vegetables, fruits and house plants, care for lawns, and do landscaping. Comprehensive, illustrated. FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS Anyone Can Do Anywhere Matilda Rogers. Enjoy a fascinating new hobby which develops your creative talents and beautifies your home. A practical course in flower arranging, with 100 illustrations. LIVES OF DESTINY As Told For The Reader's Digest Donald Culross Peattie. Inspiring life stories of 24 men who overcame enormous obstacles to achieve a place among the world's great figures: Franklin, Voltaire, Marco Polo, Mozart,da Vinci, Darwin, and other patriots, naturalists, explorers, and artists. THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Stefan Lorant. A unique text and picture biography which unfolds the dramatic life history of a great and beloved American President, with hundreds of illustrations and a lively, illuminating text by a celebrated Lincoln scholar. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: The First Mr. American Roger Burlingame. A brilliant biography of the most human of leaders, who achieved fame and wealth as an editor, scientist, diplomat and statesman during the founding days of the U. S. GANDHI: His Life and Message for the World Louis Fischer. The life story of one of the greatest inspirational and political leaders of our time gives insight into India's pivotal place in world affairs. HOW THE GREAT RELIGIONS BEGAN Joseph Gaer. An always timely, easy-to-read guide to man's unending quest for the spiritual, vividly told through the lives of the world's religious leaders: Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Buddha, Lao-Tse and others. THE UNITED NATIONS and How It Works David Cushman Coyle. A stimulating, thoughtful and objective analysis of how the United Nations, related agencies and commissions, came into being; how they operate, and what they are doing to achieve lasting peace and better living conditions all over the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How IP will become a major influence in acquisition and merger deals

From the 15 December issue of the National Law Journal, page 3: More than half of corporate and private equity executives believe that intellectual property will become a more important factor in mergers and acquisitions deals during the next five years, according to a new survey from deal-ranking company, the Mergermarket Group. Eighty-five percent of corporate respondents and 72% of private equity respondents to the survey also said a target company's intellectual property assets had importance equal to or greater than other corporate assets when M&A deals were on the table. K&L Gates and Boston-based consulting firm CRA International sponsored the survey. Given the global increase in patents and trademarks, it's not surprising that intellectual property is becoming a more important factor in M&A deals, said George Dickos, a Pittsburgh lawyer and co-ordinator of K&L Gates' intellectual property practices.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How trashy are Apple's iPhone Patents?

Very excrement-like, since they didn't ask me to do the patentability searches :-) But more seriously, the February 9th issue of Barrons has an article on Apple's iPhone patents, with Apple COO Tim Cook quoting as stating that Apple won't stand for having its IP ripped off (with hints that the intended target is Palm, though Apple doesn't mind ripping off inventors). However the same article quotes San Francisco investment analyst Pablo Perez-Fernandez as raising doubts about the strength of Apple's iPhone patent portfolio, much of which focuses on touchscreen technology:
He asserts that the U.S. Patent Office "may have not observed the requirements of innovation on number of occasions", that the legal owner of key multi-touch technologies may be the University of Delaware, and that "the essential discoveries embedded in Apple's products were the result of the work of academics from the university now employed at Apple."
He goes on:
Apple didn't invent transparent, capacitive multitouch sensors that could be overlaid on screens; "that honor went to ATT's famous Bell Laboratories back in the mid-1980s."
His conclusion: while Apple's patents are probably infringed by competitors, the competitors could strike back on invalidity grounds. And I suspect he is right. Despite all of the bull's shirt from the big companies that complain about crappy patents that issue, they are all notorious for routinely submitting crappy patents with inadequate prior art references.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How electronic medical records will become another mini-bubble

One component of Obama's recovery plan is to pour billions into electronic medical records. There are already tons of patents in this field, and lots of venture capital. But Forbes editor Lee Gomes, in the 12 January edition of Forbes, page 43, argues that doing so might make medicine more inefficient, i.e., more costly. "But the notion they're a panacea is a symptom of the fixation with high-tech gadgets that's part of the (healthcare) problem in the first place." Sounds like the PTO - fixing engineering management at the PTO is not a tech problem.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More on WordLogic and The Second of Nine Sisters

WordLogic could vigorously pursue an Olympic-sized pool of legal targets, all of whom will be swimming in litigation. For this very reason, WordLogic has intentionally forestalled litigation against the other offenders until a second, "sister patent" is formally granted. Cumulatively, the Company has nine IP's: There's the one patent that's already been approved, and eight patents that are still pending. Patent pending number two is a close sister patent to the one already granted. Evanshen said it's also for a classical deep-search, content-seeking, predictive, algorithm-based software technology for advanced word recognition - except this one's supercharged. That makes it a powerful playing piece, one that both strengthens and broadens the overall coverage of Company's intellectual property - and therefore its suit against Mercedes-Benz. Technically, in its current state of legal flux, the sister patent is still pending - but it's pending fast! Let me explain: In reviewing the online application - which is the right of the patent applicant - Evanshen told me last week that activity in the file's movement within the U.S. Patent Office suggested that "approval was imminent". He was correct. As part of Tuesday's news release, the Company was able to announce, "The United States Patent and Trademark Office has put WordLogic's second patent pending in a position of allowance. The Company's patent attorneys have filed the necessary response required to have this second patent pending allowed. The Company considers this development significantly important, firstly as an additional asset increasing the value of the Company and secondly with regard to the importance it will have in settling this case. "I, as co-owner of Stewart/Abbott Medical and a U.S. patent that's now pending, all I can say is this: "Man, I sure hope we get a letter like that!" To be in a "position of allowance" means you're all but home, the deal is all but done and you're just waiting for the ink to dry. For WordLogic Corporation, it means: 1) The boundaries of the existing suit are about to extend favorably; and, 2) The case against Mercedes will be much easier to win. This does NOT mean WordLogic needs the sister patent to be victorious or that it needs a second trigger to fire the first gun. No, patent number two is simply extra ammunition to win the case. And I believe it will. And, when it does, defendants in all future cases will fall like dominos, the damage verdicts will become almost predictable and the courtrooms will pay off like casinos. There is a lot in the wind right now, and much of it could send this stock soaring to previously unseen heights. Regardless of the "End Game" and how it's played out, Evanshen is looking at a surprising number of opportunities. It's a fairly complex decision tree, but each of the potential decisions is incredibly lucrative - and virtually all of them could play nicely into the hands of stockholders. The momentum at this point is considerable. Within a month or three, I could easily see the stock returning to its 52-week high of $1.90. Longer term, an out-of-court settlement with Mercedes-Benz or a deep-pocket buyout offer from one of the Googles or Microsofts of the world would certainly put the stock back at its 60-week high of $4.30 - and even that could easily turn out to be the valuation understatement of 2009.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Incredible Books from '40-'50's, part 2

The continuation of the Incredible Books from 1940-1950's reading list: PATTERNS OF CULTURE Ruth Benedict. A famous anthropologist analyzes our social structure in relation to primitive cultures. SEX AND TEMPERAMENT in Three Primitive Societies Margaret Mead. Are personality differences, between men and women linked to their sex? A noted anthropologist explores this fascinating question. THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE Fred Hoyle. Can an atomic blast change the earth into an exploding star? Will our earth eventually die? The latest facts and theories about the universe are explained with clarity and liveliness by a modern astronomer. Illustrated. NEW HANDBOOK OF THE HEAVENS Hubert J. Bernhard, Dorothy A. Bennett and Hugh S. Rice. A practical, fascinating guide to the stars, planets and comets.. Profusely illustrated. ON UNDERSTANDING SCIENCE James B. Conant. A noted educator, diplomat and atomic physicist explains the scope of science in our modern world, and gives an historical view of its growth. MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD Julian Huxley. Thirteen stimulating essays on the vital issues of today, selected from his "Man Stands Alone" and "On Living in a Revolution."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How is billable hour on the way out?

The 12 January edition of Forbes, on page 26, has a full page opinion piece written by Evan Chester, presiding partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He basically argues that it is time to stop billing by the hour for legal services: "The lawyer should identify the client's objectives, measure, calculate and come back with a [fixed] price." Would this work in the patent world? (It's a rhetorical question :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The "S" Class Action Suit (WordLogic In Reverse)x50

In a tobacco suit or other class-action case (such as the asbestos litigation that leveled Johns Manville), you have several hundred people teaming together to sue a major corporation. If they win, lots of little people get lots of checks that they think are big. In the final analysis, though, only the attorneys score big. By comparison, we have one plaintiff - WordLogic Corporation - which is positioning itself to attack as many as 50 companies worldwide. If successful against Mercedes - as it was against Hewlett-Packard - tiny WordLogic stands to be awarded millions upon millions, year after year, with each consecutive victory setting a precedent to win the next - and to win it more easily. Case law is predicated on legal precedent - and, to some extent, WordLogic already has one. Before the Company even went public - and while the patent was still pending - CEO Evanshen won an out-of-court settlement against Hewlett-Packard for $2 million. Technically, the suit was for trademark infringement. Had the patent already been granted, as it now has been, Evanshen believes WordLogic would have received "probably ten times that $2 million amount." In time, dozens of other suits, worth dozens, if not hundreds of millions in damages each, will likely be filed against defendants with names that are just as recognizable as Mercedes-Benz - especially if WordLogic defeats Mercedes-Benz.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Magnets and watches don't mix?

The Abacus watch has no hands at all. Instead, there’s only a single steel ball that rolls around inside the watch as you move your wrist around. But as soon as the watch is leveled horizontally, a magnet under the face stops the ball to show the correct time. I think it is missing the minute ball. magnetic watch

Friday, February 20, 2009

Incredible Books from '40-'50's, part 1

I came across this reading list on the back of a Signet book from 1955 - excellent reading, not polluted by political correctness: HOW TO KNOW THE BIRDS Roger Tory Peterson. Line drawings and silhouettes of over 200 common species, selected from the cloth-bound edition, illustrate this basic handbook by 'a noted ornithologist. HOW TO KNOW THE WILD FLOWERS Alfred Stefferud. The habitats and habits of wild flowers, their distinguishing family marks, and how to grow them. Illustrated by Sidney Horn. HOW TO KNOW THE AMERICAN MAMMALS Ivan T. Sanderson. What mammals are - how to identify them, where they live-written and illustrated by - a distinguished naturalist. 200 pictures. THE MEANING OF EVOLUTION (revised and abridged) George Gaylord Simpson. The principles and meaning of evolution, tracing the entire span of life on earth and its ethical implications for mankind. MAN MAKES HIMSELF V. Gordon Childe. Man's social and technical evolution through 340,000 years of progress-the first American edition of a brilliant classic. LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS . H. Spencer Jones. Does life exist on other worlds? A lucid discussion of this intriguing question.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Transparency in ironing, too!

I have written jokingly about the patentability of an iron-mp3-video combination, and now there is a gadget of pleasing lines and sheer functionality - B-IRON 725 lets one see the clothes being ironed. The sole plate is manufactured of tempered glass, and heat induction works by means of of electro-thermal wires. transparent B-IRON 725

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The $360 Million-Dollar Door Ding

Obviously, I couldn't begin to put a per-share value on the suit without some idea as to the value of the suit itself. To do that, I needed to know more about the cars with pirated WordLogic software. A lesser professional would have gone to the web, not me. Driven by the dedicated, relentless Southern California work ethic so closely associated with sleepy beach towns, I left work a little early (10 a.m.) to visit Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel (the eleventh largest M-B dealer in the world) because I didn't want to chance a slow Internet connection. To save time, I also chose an uber-fast car to test drive: A race-inspired, "Silver Arrow"-colored 2009 AMG SL63. With a 6.2 liter, 525 HP V-8 motor tied to a seven-speed gear box, it can do zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds, has a top speed of 155 MPH (limited by an electronic "governor"), and is therefore worth every penny of its $152,665 price tag. That sounds like a large sum of money until you realize that M-B of Laguna Niguel sports a lavish "Customer Comfort" area with sumptuous leather chairs to sit in while you rest your wallet and sip complimentary Starbucks coffee as they hand wash your car ... any time you want ... free. So, it all works out. Right? Right! Opulent dealership set-ups such as this - coupled with seriously flawed logic patterns of car guys such as myself - enabled Mercedes-Benz to sell 1,034,700 automobiles in the first 11 months of 2008. December will be reported shortly and raise the figure a bit, but let's just say they are doing one million cars annually. Of those, Andre, my salesman, said about one-third are of the S-Class variety (which are the models with the COMMAND System as standard equipment), suggesting that over 300,000 M-B cars leave showrooms each year with WordLogic technology on board. That was the first number I needed to ascribe a value to the suit. Furthermore, in Mercedes cars that don't include it, the package with the COMMAND system option costs $2,950 additional - that being the second figure I needed. Until Tuesday morning (when the Company issued a news release covering this topic), I guesstimated that at least $200 of that $2,950 could/would/should have been paid in software licensing fees to WordLogic Corporation. Therefore, based on 300,000 Mercedes models sold annually with WordLogic software on board, and with that software worth at least $200, the infringement deprived WordLogic of something like $60 million each year. It was explained to me that, by law, the suit is allowed to go back two years, so that's $120 million in damages right there. However, since M-B knowingly ignored the patent and built COMMAND-equipped cars anyway, WordLogic is entitled to sue for three times that amount. That, according to my math is a $360 million "door ding" against Mercedes - and trust me, I'm good at math. Apparently, I'm a fairly good guesser, too: In the Tuesday news release I just alluded to, the Company said it is seeking "8.6 percent in royalties on the sales of the infringing product that sells for approximately $3,000 to $5,000 per car," and that "treble damages" apply to those models sold "in 2007, 2008, and 2009." Comparatively then, WordLogic's in-house formula equates to low-end damages of about $464.4 million. We'll play it conservative though and use my $360 million number as we compare it to the Company's capital structure. WordLogic has just over 30 million shares outstanding, meaning the suit, on a per-share basis, could deliver shareholders approximately $12 per share in cash. The stock is presently priced under a buck. Now it's your turn to do the math. Remember: Mercedes-Benz is two names, but it's just one company and this is just one patent infringement suit. Truth is, this patent is being blatantly infringed on daily - all over the world! How many devices incorporate predictive text messaging? How many other multi-billion-dollar corporate machines are running on this software? What might be the total amount of damages? Your guess is as good as mine, and I'm sure the aggregate numbers are probably far too large for any of us to believe.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A truly scientific coffee table

This is patently obvious, but artistically unique: a periodic table of elements. Previously, I featured a V-8 engine coffee table, and now this is a table for all the scientists and chemists who can't live a minute without being too far from chemicals, though they are well aware of the triglyceride emulsifiers and tannins in their coffee. periodic TABLE of elementsDon't you love the translucent icons?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This IBM patent clogs sewers:

One rumored candidate to be the next Director of the Patent and Trademark Office is David Kappos, one of the head patent lawyers at IBM. Given IBM's many abuses of the patent system and patent policy over the past few decades, I think it is inappropriate, nay, wrong, for anyone from IBM to be head of the PTO. Might as well as make Bernie Madoff head of the SEC as part of his upcoming jail-time work-release program. IBM patent lawyers for too long have abused the patent system. Case in point. Last week IBM was issued its usual batch of patents, many of which are crap - crappy patents whose sole value is to clog the PTO's patent examination pipelines to the detriment of everyone else. A patent application policy actively embraced by David Kappos. If I was an IBM investor, I would applaud David for doing his best to help IBM. In fact, sometimes I recommend people to buy IBM stock because the company will do anything to maintain its market value. Kudos to David for his efforts in this regard. But the reward for abusing the patent system for the benefit of IBM should be a gold watch at retirement - and should not be the reward of being appointed head of the PTO. One of the many crappy patents issued last week is the one below, an expert system at a server that analyzes incoming messages (such as news), checks lists to see which subscribers want to be alerted to such messages, and sends the message to such subscribers. That is, methods Marimba used (and patented) to push software in 1996, IBM decides six years later to patent as methods to push other stuff. As usual, the patent cites an inadequate amount of non-patent prior art, based on IBM's inadequate IDS and the examiner's lack of experience in searching the non-patent prior art. Further, it looks like this patent, crappy as it is, was a First Office Action issuance - usually a good indicator of crap. After the application was submitted, an amendment was submitted, maybe with a bit of talking with the examiner, and then the patent was allowed to issue. Don't you all wish you had such clout with the PTO to get such crap issued? Part of the problem is that the claim language is IBM's usual excessively wordy, baffle-them-with-bull's shirt, confusing verbiage - again, another IBM patent policy actively supported by Kappos. Let's look at the abstract, which is almost easy to understand, and then claim 1, which gives me a headache to read:
United States Patent 7,487,550 Methods, apparatus and computer programs for processing alerts and auditing in a publish/subscribe system Abstract A message broker receives a published message from a publisher program. Responsive to identification of one or more subscriber programs subscribing to messages of the type of the received message, the broker forwards the received message to the one or more subscriber programs. Matcher components compares the received message with stored subscriptions to identify subscriber programs, generates an alert when an alert condition is satisfied, and compares the generated alert with stored subscriptions to identify subscriber programs subscribing to the alert. The alert is then forwarded to the subscriber program subscribing to the alert.
The patent only cites five or six prior patents, inadequate, grossly inadequate, especially in light of a Sun Microsystems patent whose title kills IBM's patent outright:
United States Patent 5,761,662 Dasan, June 2, 1998 Personalized information retrieval using user-defined profile
Now, for those of you who know anything about expert system database alert systems (i.e., a database with alert triggers, a decades old field), look at the crappy non-patent prior art considered:
Other References "Design of a General Clinical Notification System Based on the Publish-Subscribe Paradigm", A conference of the American Medical Informatics Association. By, A. Geissbuhler, M.D., W. W. Stead, M.D., Oct. 25, 1997, pp. 126-130, XP002179981. cited by other . "Exploiting an Event-Based Infrastructure to Develop Complex Distributed Systems", Proceedings of the 1998 International Conference in Kyoto, Japan Apr. 19-25, 1998, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, IEEE Comput.Soc, US, Apr. 19, 1998, pp. 261-270. cited by other . Internet Commerce Corporation on website and
Technology, 2001. cited by other . Arnold et al, "Discourse with Disposable Computers: How and Why You Will Talk to Your Tomatoes", USENIX Proceedings of the Embedded Systems Workshop, Mar. 29-31, 1999. cited by other.
Not one article from the any ACM publications and conferences on database systems, alert systems, message analysis systems, push, or expert systems, and only one article from the IEEE. Grossly inadequate, and IBM knows it. To cite nothing from SIGMOD or DEXA makes this patent crap. So maybe IBM should spend less time doing searches against other companies as part of its scam public patent review project, and more time doing searches of its own crap. Excrement, as in the language of claim 1 (the only claim as well, probably too long to not be workaroundable and thus unenforceable):
The invention claimed is: 1. A data processing apparatus for providing a publish/subscribe message dissemination service on behalf of publisher and subscriber programs comprising: means for receiving a published message from a publisher program; means, responsive to identification of one or more message subscriber programs subscribing to messages of the type of the received message, for forwarding the received message to the one or more message subscriber programs; and one or more matcher components for: comparing the received message with stored message subscriptions to identify the one or more message subscriber programs; generating an alert when an alert condition is satisfied; and comparing the generated alert with stored alert subscriptions to identify one or more subscriber programs subscribing to the alert; and means for forwarding the alert to the one or more subscriber programs subscribing to the alert, wherein the message and alert subscriptions are stored in data storage in association with message topic information, the one or more matcher components including means for retrieving stored subscription information by reference to message topic information of a received message, rules procedures for generating and determining required dissemination of alerts are stored in association with the message topic information,
NOTE: so far, this claim is nothing more than the many push systems popularized in the Internet era - no innovation here. And as a good example to deceive the Patent Office, the word "push" doesn't appear in the patent, depriving the examiner the opportunity to think about PUSH and search for Marimba's patents.
wherein the one or more matcher components are adapted to identify a relevant rules procedure by reference to the message topic information and to forward to the identified rules procedure: a message subscription list; a list of authorized recipients; and an identification of one or more subscribers for alerts; thereby to enable generation and determination of required dissemination of an alert; the one or more matcher components includes: means for performing an authorization check to identify a subset of the identified one or more message subscriber programs which subset of programs is authorized to receive the message; and means for generating an alert when the authorization check identifies an unauthorized message subscriber.
NOTE: actually, even this far, this claim is nothing more than the many push systems popularized in the Internet era - no innovation here. This patent is nothing more than an IBM ploy to clog the patent system with a patent application embodying little to no innovation - a tactic IBM has used for thousands and thousands of patent applications. A tactic warmly embraced by David Kappos. Who should not be appointed next Director of the PTO.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I am totally opposed to Kappos being appointed as the next PTO Director, for his involvement in multiple IBM efforts over the last ten years to undermine any attempts to improve patent quality. It would be a horrible message to send to inventors to have a lawyer from the most abusive patent playing company, IBM, as head of the PTO. One reason the PTO's backlog is so great is that companies such as IBM flood the PTO with tons of crappy patent applications, to jam up the system making it hard for competitors to get patents that could challenge IBM's markets. Anyone forget IBM's airplane-bathroom-reservation patent? I also post this classic 1997 article from Business Week that pretty much describes how IBM invented trollism (shaking down companies by asserting lots of crappy patents, and some good ones, from their massive portfolio). IBM was a major player in the Software Patent Institute scam (a 1990s effort to deflect any resources from a serious attempt to improve prior art handling at the PTO), and is a major player in the SPI's child, the 2000s scam otherwise known as the Public Patent Peer Review project. For many of these undermining efforts, Kappos was involved. He should not be awarded Directorship of the PTO. Slashdot this week has a summary of criticisms of IBM's attempts to get U.S. bailout money so it can fire U.S. workers and move more of its jobs overseas. "As his company was striving to hide the bodies of its laid off North American workers, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano stood beside president Obama and waxed patriotic: 'We need to reignite growth in our country.', Palmisano said. 'We need to undertake projects that actually will create jobs." While Sam positions IBM to get a slice of the $825 billion stimulus pie, IBM is quietly cutting thousands of jobs and refusing to release the numbers or locations." The country deserves someone coming from some other company to be the next PTO Director, if the next choice is a corporate one. Kappos is a much smarter version of Jon Dudas, and will be as effective, if not more, in overseeing the further degradation of PTO capabilities with regards to patent examination (which again, is in IBM's interests). So everyone, make copies of the BusinessWeek article below, and send it to your Congressional representatives, asking them to not allow any lawyers from IBM to become the next Director of the PTO.


Found in BUSINESSWEEK 17 MAR 1997: BIG BLUE IS OUT TO COLLAR SOFTWARE SCOFFLAWS by Ira Sager, Business Week, 17 March 1997, page 34 Big blue holds more software patents than any other company in the world. That's great for bragging rights, but it does little for the bottom line. Now, however, IBM sees money in that trove of intellectual property - and its efforts to collect are making software companies hoping mad. Note: might as well call this date the formal birth at IBM of trollism Lawyers for Big Blue are searching for software companies that it says should be paying royalties but aren't. Over the past several months, IBM has been quietly pursuing patent claims against such well-known software companies as Oracle, Computer Associates, Adobe Systems, Autodesk, Intuit and Informix. IBM is also pressing a software claim against computer maker Sequent Computer Systems. Note: a lesson well learned by many trolls to follow in the years to come. All thanks to IBM. So far, no lawsuits have been filed, but software companies aren't waiting. Several of them are launching a pre-emptive strike, hiring Silicon Valley's star litigator, Gary Reback, a partner at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, Rosati. Two years ago, Reback took on Bill Gates. Representing a handful of Silicon Valley companies, he unsuccessfully tried to get the Justice Department to broaden an antitrust investigation of Microsoft. Now, Reback is hurling charges against IBM similar to those he leveled at Microsoft. "IBM shows up the same way someone might might demand protection money.", he says. Officials at the companies confirm that IBM has contacted them, but most refuse to talk publicly. Note: Peter D. - instead of "troll", you should have suggested "goodfellas" Collecting the patent royalties could add millions to IBM's net profits. In 1995 - the last year IBM released figures - the company took in $500 million from royalties on all patents Note: yet it cannot afford to pay for prior art searches for its patent applications software and hardware alike. Insiders say that senior managers Note: this include Kappos? believe that IBM could collect $1 billion a year from its patents. The software makers that have been contacted by IBM aren't yet willing to help Big Blue reach that goal. They maintain that lot of software patents - IBM's included - are too broad and never should have been issued. IBM's pursuit of royalties, they argue, is an abuse of a patent system that is too lax and does not require an applicant to really prove that the software application is unique. Note: of course, while complaining, these companies did nothing to help organize prior art resources and tools to donate to the PTO. IBM contends it's just trying to protect its intellectual property and get a fair return on the $5 billion yearly tab it runs up on research and development. "What Gary Reback is asking us to do is provide an R&D subsidy to our competitors, and we won't do that.", says Marshall Phelps, IBM's attorney in charge of intellectual property and licensing. Note: Phelps moved over to Microsoft, which is now flooding the PTO with its crappy patent applications, while his groomed successor is Kappos. Some companies are afraid that paying now will set a precedent, making it harder to say no later. "If we sign up with IBM today, then what happens in three or five years, when the patent agreement expires?", asks Oracle patent attorney Allen Wagner. With all the skirmishing that lies ahead, this dispute is still in Version 1.0.

The rest of the story on the Microsoft espionage lawsuit

We are frequently (almost always justifiably) outraged about IBM's antics in the patent procurement and/quality debate. While they don't make your rants nearly as often, I place Microsoft in almost the same company as IBM. An interesting case was reported last week based on a lawsuit filed by Microsoft against an ex-employee (who they fired) who had filed a patent infringement suit against a number of Microsoft customers, alleging he had violated his duty to Microsoft by downloading confidential Microsoft documents while a Microsoft employee that he then used in his lawsuits against their customers. Well, as Paul Harvey used to say, here's "the rest of the story". As is almost always the case, when IBM or Microsoft say anything about patents or patent-related litigation, one should receive it with a somewhat jaundiced eye. A useful note: a candidate to be the next PTO Director, Dave Kappos, is a head patent lawyer at IBM. From the Seattle PI, Feb.2, 2009 here is Miki Mullor's reply to the Microsoft lawsuit against him. His statement does not substantively address Microsoft's allegation that he stole Microsoft's confidential and proprietary information for use against the computer manufacturers:
I am the inventor of U.S. Patent No. 6,411,941 relating to software anti-piracy technology, and Ancora is my company. I applied for my patent in 1998. In 2002, the patent issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2003, I approached Microsoft and had several talks with a Microsoft lawyer and employees of Microsoft's AntiPiracy group about my invention and the benefits Microsoft could realize by using it. Microsoft declined and said they had no interest in my invention. We ceased business operations at Ancora in 2005, and Microsoft was the first company to extend me an employment offer. I accepted. When I joined Microsoft, I notified them in writing of Ancora and my patent in both my resume and in my employment agreement. In its complaint against me, Microsoft withheld the portions of these key documents that show this. At the same time I was employed at Microsoft, but unknown to me, Microsoft was developing what is now known as "OEM Activation." OEM Activation is installed on computers made by HP, Dell, Toshiba and others ... to prevent piracy of Microsoft's Windows Vista software installed on those computers. This work was being done in a different department at Microsoft. OEM Activation is a blatant copy of my invention. In June 2008, my company Ancora filed a patent infringement lawsuit against HP, Dell and Toshiba in the federal court in Los Angeles. Microsoft fired me for trying to protect my own invention --- an invention I told them about before they ever hired me. Recently, Microsoft filed a retaliation suit against me personally in Seattle. Microsoft accuses me of lying, deceit, fraud and misappropriation. These are shameful, dishonest attacks on my character by Microsoft - the company that stole my idea in the first place. Their attacks are untrue, and they hurt me and my family. Microsoft basically admits stealing my idea in the complaint they filed because they are asking for a license to my patent. Microsoft would only need a license to my patent if they were infringing it in the first place. My patent case in Los Angeles has been going on for several months now with substantial progress. Clearly, Microsoft and the PC OEMs realized that they have no defense on the merits of the patent case.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recommended reading (Part 4) in all fields of interest

This is part 4 of 4 out of the recommended reading list. ANIMALS: 1,419 COPYRIGHT-FREE ILLUSTRATIONS OF MAMMALS, BIRDS, FISH, INSECTS, ETC., edited by Jim Harter. Clear wood engravings present, in extremely lifelike poses, over 1,000 species of animals. One of the most extensive pictorial sourcebooks of its kind. Captions. Index. 284pp. OBELISTS FLY HIGH, C. Daly King. Masterpiece of American detective fiction, long out of print, involves murder on a 1935 transcontinental flight-"a very thrilling story"-NY Times. Unabridged and unaltered republication of the edition published by William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., London, 1935. 288pp. VICTORIAN AND EDWARDIAN FASHION: A Photographic Survey, Alison Gernsheim. First fashion history completely illustrated by contemporary photographs. Full text plus 235 photos, 1840-1914, in which many celebrities appear. 240pp. THE ART OF THE FRENCH ILLUSTRATED BOOK, 1700-1914, Gordon N. Ray. Over 630 superb book illustrations by Fragonard, Delacroix, Daumier, Dore, Grandville, Manet, Mucha, Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec and many others. Preface. Introduction. 633 halftones. Indices of artists, authors & titles, binders and provenances. Appendices. Bibliography. 608pp. THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, L. Frank Baum. Facsimile in full color of America's finest children's classic. 143 illustrations by W. W. Denslow. 267pp. FRONTIERS OF MODERN PHYSICS: New Perspectives on Cosmology, Relativity, Black Holes and Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Tony Rothman, et al. For the intelligent layman. Subjects include: cosmological models of the universe; black holes; the neutrino; the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Introduction. 46 black-and-white illustrations. 192pp. THE FRIENDLY STARS, Martha Evans Martin & Donald Howard Menzel. Classic text marshalls the stars together in an engaging, non-technical survey, presenting them as sources of beauty in night sky. 23 illustrations. Foreword. 2 star charts. Index. 147pp. FADS AND FALLACIES IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE, Martin Gardner. Fair, witty appraisal of cranks, quacks, and quackerie:, of science and pseudoscience: hollow earth, Velikovsky, orgone energy, Dianetics, flying saucers, Bridey Murphy, food and medical fads, etc. Revised, expanded In the Name of Science. "A very able and even-tempered presentation."-The New Yorker. 363pp. ANCIENT EGYPT: ITS CULTURE AND HISTORY, J. E Manchip White. From pre-dynastics through Ptolemies: society, history, political structure, religion, daily life, literature, cultural heritage. 48 plates. 217pp. SIR HARRY HOTSPUR OF HUMBLETHWAITE, Anthony Trollope. Incisive, unconventional psychological study of a conflict between a wealthy baronet, his idealistic daughter, and their scapegrace cousin. The 1870 novel in its first inexpensive edition in years. 250pp. LASERS AND HOLOGRAPHY, Winston E. Kock. Sound introduction m burgeoning field, expanded (1981) for second edition. Wave patterns, coherence, lasers, diffraction, zone plates, properties of holograms, recent advances. 84 illustrations. 160pp. INTRODUCTION TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: SECOND, ENLARGED EDITION, Philip C. Jackson, Jr. Comprehensive survey of artificial intelligence-the study of how machines (computers) can be made to act intelligently. Includes introductory and advanced material. Extensive notes updating the main text. 132 black-and-white illustrations. 512pp. HISTORY OF INDIAN AND INDONESIAN ART, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Over 400 illustrations illuminate classic study of Indian art from earliest Harappa finds to early 20th century. Provides philosophical, religious and social insights. 304pp. THE GOLEM, Gustav Meyrink. Most famous supernatural novel in modern European literature, set in Ghetto of Old Prague around 1890. Compelling story of mystical experiences, strange transformations, profound terror. 13 black-and-white illustrations. 224pp. ARMADALE, Wilkie Collins. Third great mystery novel by the author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone. Original magazine version with 40 illustrations. 597pp. PICTORIAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL PLANS, DETAILS AND ELEMENTS: With 1,880 Line Drawings of Arches, Domes, Doorways, Facades, Gables, Windows, etc., John Theodore Haneman. Sourcebook of inspiration for architects, designers, others. Bibliography. Captions. 141pp. BENCHLEY LOST AND FOUND, Robert Benchley. Finest humor from early 30's, about pet peeves, child psychologists, post office and others. Mostly unavailable elsewhere. 73 illustrations by Peter Arno and others. 183pp. ERTE GRAPHICS, Erte. Collection of striking color graphics: Seasons, Alphabet, Numerals, Aces and Precious Stones. 50 plates, including 4 on covers. 48pp. THE JOURNAL OF HENRY D. THOREAU, edited by Bradford Torrey, F. H. Allen. Complete reprinting of 14 volumes, 1837-61, over two million words; the sourcebooks for Walden, etc. Definitive. All original sketches, plus 75 photographs. 1,804pp. CASTLES: THEIR CONSTRUCTION AND HISTORY, Sidney Toy. Traces castle development from ancient roots. Nearly 200 photographs and drawings illustrate moats, keeps, baileys, many other features. Caernarvon, Dover Castles, Hadrian's Wall, Tower of London, dozens more. 256pp. AMERICAN CLIPPER SHIPS: 1833-1858, Octavius T. Howe & Frederick C. Matthews. Fully-illustrated, encyclopedic review of 352 clipper ships from the period of America's greatest maritime supremacy. Introduction. 109 halftones. 5 black-and-white line illustrations. Index. Total of 928pp. TOWARDS A NEW ARCHITECTURE, Le Corbusier. Pioneering manifesto by great architect, near legendary founder of "International School." Technical and aesthetic theories, views on industry, economics, relation of form to function, "mass-production spirit," much more. Profusely illustrated. Unabridged translation of 13th French edition. Introduction by Frederick Etchells. 320pp. THE BOOK OF KELLS, edited by Blanche Cirker. Inexpensive collection of 32 full-color, full-page plates from the greatest illuminated manuscript of the Middle Ages, painstakingly reproduced from rare facsimile edition. Publisher's Note. Captions. 32pp. BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES OF H. G. WELLS, H. G. Wells. Full novel The Invisible Man, plus 17 short stories: "The Crystal Egg," "Aepyornis Island," "The Strange Orchid," etc. 303pp. AMERICAN SAILING SHIPS: Their Plans and History, Charles G. Davis. Photos, construction details of schooners, frigates, clippers, other sailcraft of 18th to early 20th centuries-plus entertaining discourse on design, rigging, nautical lore, much more. 137 black-and-white illustrations. 240pp. ENTERTAINING MATHEMATICAL PUZZLES, Martin Gardner. Selection of author's favorite conundrums involving arithmetic, money, speed, etc., with lively commentary. Complete solutions. 112pp. THE WILL TO BELIEVE, HUMAN IMMORTALITY, William James. Two books bound together. Effect of irrational on logical, and arguments for human immortality. 402pp. THE HAUNTED MONASTERY and THE CHINESE MAZE MURDERS, Robert Van Gulik. 2 full novels by Van Gulik continue adventures of judge Dee and his companions. An evil Taoist monastery, seemingly supernatural events; overgrown topiary maze that hides strange crimes. Set in 7th-century China. 27 illustrations. 328pp. CELEBRATED CASES OF JUDGE DEE (DEE GOONG AN), translated by Robert Van Gulik. Authentic 18th-century Chinese detective novel; Dee and associates solve three interlocked cases. Led to Van Gulik's own stories with same characters. Extensive introduction. 9 illustrations. 237pp. Can you recommend a book?