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 . Icc.net Internet Commerce Corporation on website ICC.net/Services/Infosafe and ICC.net/Services/Infosafe/
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?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

IBM defines the US Patent Law

IBM DECLARES WHAT IT THINKS 35 USC 101 REALLY MEANS Much as I love bashing IBM - they are so nefarious - I have to tip my hat to their claim drafters, who always do fun things with claim language. Just this week IBM was awarded a crappy software patent (memory storage pool allocation citing no non-patent prior art), with some fun language - here's U.S. Patent No. 7487322:
1. An article of manufacture including program logic on a computer readable storage medium(...)
This claim is classic in its contempt for 101 caselaw, because it directly attacks the nonsense of 101 caselaw (nonsense that all flows from the legal sewage otherwise known as Gottschalk v. Benson): is an executable computer program on a media an "article of manufacture"? Anyone who knows anything about the computer science or commercial software (a group which excludes much of the CAFC and SCOTUS) would say - sure - software is manufactured and sold as an article. Nothing wrong with this language. Or not, if you ask the Bilski crowd. Such language helps emphasize that Congress has to address the fact that the fundamental statutes of IP law (35 USC 101, 103 and 17 USC 102) will remain constitutionally vague until Congress defines what it means by such terms as "article of manufacture"- a definitional problem NOT the role of the courts to do.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The War in Germany and WordLogic

According to CEO Evanshen, the people at Mercedes-Benz appreciated WordLogic's software superiority in assisting with driver operation of the GPS-based navigation system, and incorporated into their cars. But, they "forgot" to pay for it. So in 2005, WordLogic Corporation filed suit. Despite that, Benz continued using the software and eventually bundled it with a Harmon/Kardon Logic 7 sound system, Bluetooth cell-phone support (including a phone book), and made it a cabin-tech feature for all of its prestigious "S-Class" automobiles. In showrooms, the portion of the multimedia package that controls everything is known as the "COMMAND" system. Every component in the multimedia package is intuitively accessed using COMMAND's predictive software - software that Evanshen, the inventors and the attorneys steadfastly maintain is WordLogic's IP. Evanshen also told me that "... because the German car maker (actually he might have called it a "lawless beast") was made fully aware of the patent and ignored it anyway, treble (legalese for triple) damages are in order." The suit against Mercedes-Benz is "unspecified" as far as the dollar amount of damages being sought. If I understand my attorney correctly, an unspecified claim is a "tort claim", wherein the amount to be awarded is left to the Court to determine. This is usually the case when there are claims that don't have an exact value figure. "Plaintiff has been damaged in the amount to be proven or decided at trial," is an example of how the initial complaint might be phrased. Suits of this nature can also claim for "General Damages", which include future losses and cannot be decided - not today, anyway - by calculating receipts, etc.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nigerian scams are getting into patents and academia

A patent holder's lonely way by Jonathan Hum and Dov Gold From the 26 January Barrons, page 18
Medical researchers at 12 major universities were shocked recently when they got letters from Nzedegwu Robert Olisa III, demanding $155,000 payment from each lab. Olisa alleged they had violated his patent and copyright with their activities in proteomics - a hot niche of biotechnology that studies the genetic recipes for proteins. Olisa filed infringement complaints with the FBI and the National Science Foundation. Note: a new twist to asserting a patent. The patent is U.S. patent 7,244,702, filed April 2003, and only cites three U.S. patents as prior art. "People are pirating my work.", Olisa said. "They are squishing me." He told Barron's his drug was the subject of 3,000 medical journal articles. Asked for citations,he then said it contained ingredients that have been mentioned in medical journals. His Web site (www.biologicalagents.com) suggests that the drug is useful against cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. Members of the Assocation of Biomolecular Research Facilities are puzzled by Olisa's bold claims. Olisa also says he owns the patent for detecting 12 of the 20 standard amino acids of which proteins are made. "We're not going to pay his demand.", said University of Minnesota legal counsel Brian Slovut. "We evaluated his claim and determined that there was no validity to it." Note: Brian - you are so wrong. Olisa's patent is one of Jon Dudas' many high quality issued patents. Christopher Viney, general counsel at Roswel Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, concluded that its lab practices didn't infringe Olisa's claims. Government patent examiners don't always understand the fast moving science of proteomics, noted Harvard University lab manager John Neveu. He said Harvard isn't paying. Olisa promised to call off the collection agents if the alleged infringers pay up. But they had better act fast. Olisa said he is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and is shipping off to Iraq in a few months.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How a patent lawsuit was used to inflate penny stock

The newswires and stock blogs have been all-abuzz in the past month about a patent lawsuit filed by Wordlogic against Mercedes Benz. What follows is one financial newsletter's review of the case and their recommendation to BUY because Wordlogic is going to win hundreds of millions of dollars from MB, and then sue everyone else as well. I am dubious - the patent could have serious validity problems because of non-cited prior art. The patent involved, U. S. Pat. No. 7,293,231, is for a predictive text algorithm, that is as you type the first part of a word, the computer automatically offers one or more full words that could be what you have in mind. I type in "predict" and the computer automatically returns "prediction, predictive, etc.". Cute feature in some cases, aggravating feature in other cases. The following stock tout is interesting for its cheerleading wording, its use of patent lingo, and calculation of patent damages, which while I think are exaggerated, look like some of the patent damage calculations proposed in "legitimate" patent lawsuits. It is entertaining reading, and good copy if you want to tout your patent lawsuit in the future. A pity the tout ignores serious prior art problems with the patent. As of June 2008, WordLogic had retained Dan Skerritt of Tonkon Torp (Portland), a litigator whose big win seems to be one of those state lawsuits against the cigarette companies. I hope he understand prior art in the patent world. Also in June, WordLogic retained the services of Ascend Ventures, to help exploit its patent. The patent cites a fair amount of patent and non-patent prior art: 119 U.S. patents and patent applications, 15 foreign patents. While it cites a lot of non-patent prior art, only 10 are one year or more prior to the provisional filing date of March 1999. Since there has been two decades of research prior to the filing in this area of user interfaces, this patent could have invalidity problems, once Mercedes-Benz throws some good money at a prior art search. This potential problem is not mentioned at all in the tout below, one reason I am suspicious of its logic. The second problem is that there an Acacia subsidiary, Autotext, which has a lawsuit against 12 companies over a much earlier patent, 5,305,205, that is similar to WordLogic's patent (more primitive maybe, but raises 103 issues definitely). And this patent is NOT cited by Wordlogic's patent, raising invalidity issues of what other patent prior art Wordlogic missed finding, let alone what other non-patent prior art Wordlogic missed finding (I am available to do the search :-) Let's look at the key aspect of Wordlogic's independent claim 1:
(a) receiving a partial text entry comprising at least a first character (b) in response to receipt of the first character ...., obtaining a dynamically generated list of completion candidates .... (c) displaying the list of completion candidates in a search list
The rest of the claim is utterly obvious graphical user interface methods to ask the user if she wants to ignore the list, or choose one of the proposed words to be entered into the appropriate field. Now, let's look at the key aspects of Acacia's 5,305,205 patent not cited as prior art:
(b) list means responsive to the entry of a succession of characters by said entry device on a character by character basis for determining a succession of ordered lists of candidate words from said vocabulary words, .... (c) display means for displaying at least a portion of said list on said display screen, ...
Not that hard to map the three phrases from the WordLogic patent into the three phrases from Acacia's patent, suggesting that WordLogic has serious patent validity problems, especially if additional prior art searching is done. Supposedly WordLogic has a second patent about to issue, probably a continuation where they submitted additional prior art. But if such art included the Acacia patent, the second patent is proof not of WordLogic's innovation, but rather more proof of patent quality problems at the PTO. So when Frank Evanshen, president and CEO of WordLogic is proclaiming:
"The time has arrived for this company, its products, and its patents to be put on the world stage."
I can agree if the stage happens to be at a world comedy theater. On January 20th, 2009, WordLogic announced a comprehensive technical and financial review is being done of the patent, to be finished in a month. Without a rigorous prior art analysis, this review will be worthless. Indeed, the report is available at www.wordlogic.com/WordLogicReport.pdf, a report which is worthless for ignoring the prior art problems this patent probably has. Thus the following stock tout is a good example of a) patent lawsuit based stock touts you will see more and more in the future, and b) the dubious nature of many such stock recommendations if they aren't written by one or more people who know the stock markets, technology and patent claim analysis. Now, "Wall Street News Alert"- The Stewart Report Investment Opinion German Engineering Has the Respect, But WordLogic Holds the U.S. Patent. Laguna Beach, CA, January 23, 2009 - To most investors, WordLogic (OTC/BB: WLGC $0.80) is a cutting-edge software technology company... and I won't argue with that assessment. But, for our purposes, it's a pregnant win in the form of a giant lawsuit. Very recent events, not yet digested by the financial community, suggest this lawsuit is worth $12-$18 per share, yet the stock is still under a buck. Speculating on the outcome of a lawsuit might not seem like the highest of ambitions - the Wall Street equivalent of ambulance chasing - until you realize the value of the technology relative to the probable value of the suit itself. As for the defendant? It's none other than Mercedes-Benz of North America, meaning that this particular "ambulance" is stacked with enough $100 bills to pass for an armored Brink's truck. Besides, the technology being contested is so integral to modern daily life that you probably used it a couple times today before you even got to work. So did your kids. In fact, if you received this stock recommendation on your Bluetooth, Blackberry, iPhone or some other handheld device - or even if you got it via e-mail on your desktop - it's likely you used WordLogic's technology to open this profile on WordLogic itself. That's because most of today's personal electronics employ a "predictive text" program - i.e., the technology on your text-messaging program that finishes the word "message" before you finish entering the letters "mess" Actually, though, WordLogic's technology is to simple predictive text-messaging software what chess is to checkers. Horizontal logic is no big trick. It's the ability to bridge upward to access all kinds of specialty dictionaries that makes WordLogic's technology so patently unique. In terms of vertical growth, if its intellectual property was a building, we'd be looking at The Sears Tower. The software really is dynamic. But, again, the important thing is that it's also heavily patented - and the patent has been so heavily infringed on that triple damages are now being sought. If the adage is true, if "imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery", then the same thing could probably be said of plagiarism - or even the outright piracy of an intellectual property. My point being, if WordLogic's technology is good enough for Mercedes-Benz, it's probably very good technology! Beyond that, the techno-members of a wireless generation who live and breathe ethers of the Internet would be the ones to best explain WordLogic's software. No, my assigned role here is to offer The Stewart Report's investment opinion, in part because I've twice used the stock market to speculate on the outcome of David v. Goliath-type lawsuits similar to this - and twice I scored some fairly bodacious profits. I also have a 50 percent interest in Stewart/Abbott Medical, a privately held company with a technology that's patent pending, so I have a modest knowledge of patent law and the hurdles of the patent process. And, finally, the last stock The Stewart Report featured using the ---- service (Applied Nanoscience, Inc.: Pink Sheets/APNN) more than doubled in just four day's time. A little profit-taking set in after that, but it's still up a respectable 84.6 percent. Bragging rights aside, APNN is a "patent technology pure play." Bottom Line: WordLogic is also a "patent technology pure play", but with a wonderful wild-card twist: Massive, winnable litigation for treble damages! Ridiculous sums of money are up for grabs - and I believe that, one way or another, WordLogic will prevail. The adage is: "If you know the ropes, you are less likely to hang from them." Frank Evanshen, WordLogic's President and CEO, understands this. So he also understands that if you are to go up against an army of German lawyers, deep pockets can be helpful. Accordingly, selling the Company - and therefore the patent, the lawsuit and the future payday for a large fraction of its long-term value - is always a viable option. That makes WordLogic an obvious buyout candidate as well. So, whether it's in the courtroom or the conference room, shareholders have an intriguing situation that's already in play, and is the basis for The Stewart Report's strong speculative BUY Recommendation at this time. United States Patent No. 7,293,231 Everything centers on WordLogic's patent. The original application is titled: "Data Entry for Personal Computing Devices." Read that twice, consider the day and age in which we live and then tell me this isn't an important patent. You might also take a look at the link on the Company's website and view the patent documents themselves. In them, you'll notice that the Company makes 116 separate claims (all of them were approved!) and survived seven separate "Office Actions" (which is almost unheard of). See below: NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with the patent process, an Office Action is filed when the patent people come back to you with a complaint and/or a request for additional proof to substantiate your design claims. Usually, in all but the most important patent applications, after one or two Office Actions, a patent is either approved or sent to the shredder. Surviving so many claims is evidence of a patent application that has been thoroughly tested because it's truly far-reaching - If not all-encompassing. In other words, what we're talking about here is an honest-to-goodness "Platform Technology", such as DOS, on which Microsoft was built. These are, of course, rare - and tend to be wildly valuable.