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Oracle Fights EpicRealm Patents 56

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the always-squash-the-little-guy-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Oracle is now fighting EpicRealm's web patents after Safelite settled with EpicRealm, then asked Oracle to pay, as per their software license agreement. EpicRealm's patents are vague and 'describe a technique where a web site updates only part of a website instead of having to rebuild the entire page. That may look a lot like DHTML, but apparently it isn't the same.'"
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Oracle Fights EpicRealm Patents

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  • but...but (Score:5, Funny)

    by gargletheape (894880) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:39AM (#15689829)

    But I patented a technique whereby companies with names starting with 'O' sue companies whose names start with 'E' over patents that are bullshit.

    Send me 10,000 moneys now!

    • Simple Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If some company owns "Intellectual Property" worth billions, WHERE ARE THE TAXES?

      If the co. owns an old chevy pickup or a building, they have to pay property tax on it.

      TAX THE IP OWNERS based on what THEY CLAIM IT IS WORTH.

      The rest of us will get a free ride next April 15.

      • Re:Simple Solution (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Interesting, so each trademark or patent you would want someone to claim a value for. Then annually pay some amount of tax on that. So if "slashdot" and the logo "./" are trademarks, they would be taxed annually. And if slashdot owned the patent on "weblog: process in which entries are made displayed in a reverse chronological order on a website" they would pay a tax as well.

        Also would you allow the trademar or patent go up and down in value? A patent for weblog might not be useful when you file, but the wh
      • The rest of us will get a free ride next April 15.
        nahh,, they will find a way to spend the money then claim some social service is going bankrupt.

        It's the way government works. One half wants to give it back to those who "paid it" while another wants to give it to those who "didn't pay it". The end result is alot of spending, little or no monay left over to give back and nothing sustantial being addressed in the process.
  • Beh, even the new DHTML Slashdot's interface does the same, whenever you expand any comments that are below your threshold.

    Not to mention a crapload of other pages.
    • Doesn't this sound like AJAX too? Maybe their next target is Google. Then again if their patent is so vague as that someone can't try to follow it (patents are usually unreadable at best) to make a working solution, could that invalidate the patent. Think 'process for getting to work', as opposed to 'process for getting to work, by placing one leg in front of the other'.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:42AM (#15689833)
    If something is to be patented that has been around a long time and it STILL gets patented, it usually means the patent clerk has no idea what he's doing. That doesn't surprise, even though they tend to be experts in their field, it is impossible to keep up with the development in the field of computer science.

    Now, of course he knows all relevant patents (or, rather, he is able to look them up). But not everything in this field is patented, and "prior art" is usually not decades old and well known, more often than not you have prior art that's only a few years or months old, hardly known and far from penetrating the market, before someone comes up with the bright idea to file a patent for something that does roughly the same (without, of course, mentioning the general name of the non patented prior art). And there you go. A patent for something you didn't do anything for.
    • Solution, don't allow blue button patents.

      Chances are if you tack "on the internet" to your patent claim it isn't original or non-obvious. A method of only updating part of a page? You mean like an IFRAME, Javascript and the DOM? Not exactly "new". I did a web programming class on it in 2001.

      You'd think though, with the thousands of patents filed daily that we'd have flying cars, microwaves that you can put forks in, better televisions, magic food pills, etc...

      Instead we have gas guzzling cars that will end society, microwaves using decades old technology, TV incompatibilities up the wazoo and fake sugar pills sold on SpikeTV at 2am. /sad

      Tom
      • HTML frames let you update part of the page back in the early 90s. I am glad Oracle is attempting to fight this, bottom line is the greatest obstacle to productivity and innovation is, irnically, the patent office.
      • A method of only updating part of a page? You mean like an IFRAME, Javascript and the DOM? Not exactly "new". I did a web programming class on it in 2001.

        They're not patenting only updating part of a webpage. They're patenting a method of only updating part of a webpage. Iframes, Javascript and DOM are 3 completely different methods, and had they not already been used, would have been eligible for separate patents. They (presumably) have a fourth, which may well be original and non-obvious.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        have flying cars,

        They're called "airplanes", they were invented in 1903

        microwaves that you can put forks in

        I don't know why you'd want to put a fork in a microwave, but microwavable forks have been around since before microwave ovens. They're called "plastic".

        better televisions
        Mine is 42 inches diagonal and with a flat screen and a remote control. Lots better than the one I bought in 1977, 27 inches (the biggest they had) curved screen w/ no remote.

        magic food pills
        Huh? What's that? I take a vitamin pill ev
      • You'd think though, with the thousands of patents filed daily that we'd have flying cars, microwaves that you can put forks in, better televisions, magic food pills, etc...

        Instead we have gas guzzling cars that will end society, microwaves using decades old technology, TV incompatibilities up the wazoo and fake sugar pills sold on SpikeTV at 2am.


        "gas guzzling cars..." => Today's cars are loads more efficient than decades ago. They have more bloat - AC, DVD Systems, power seats, heated seats, a hundred po
      • "Instead we have gas guzzling cars that will end society, microwaves using decades old technology, TV incompatibilities up the wazoo and fake sugar pills sold on SpikeTV at 2am."

        Fake sugar pills? What are they putting in them that is cheaper than sugar?
  • The real problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:45AM (#15689843) Homepage
    I guess it's good that the big boys are fighting it out, maybe the patent trolls will lose this time. However this doesn't fix the real problem with the patent system. And no the real problem is not that you can get a patent for anything. The real problem is that it is too costly to defend against an illegitimate claim. If you could defend yourself cheaply against these stupid patents then it wouldn't matter if they were granted, you could just swat them away without blinking.
    • by donaldm (919619)
      Every time I have looked at a patent my eyes glaze over since it is written in legalese which IMHO is nearly incomprehensible or just plain stupid to the professional engineer. Of course the reverse applies as well.

      So here we have patent lawyers writing an application for a patent that they most likely don't have a clue about and on other the other side we have people who have the scientific knowledge that cannot understand the legalese. Now waiting in the wings are the patent trolls who don't care so long
    • Re:The real problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Serveert (102805) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:29AM (#15689920)
      Just wait until Intellectual Ventures(IV) starts suing. Keep in mind Google and others have 'paid off' this patent troll. We shall see what everyone's truly made of when IV goes on a suing rampage. Worst case, IV sues people for obvious patents they bought, google and others get off scott free, the rest of us must pay bribe money to IV. Best case, IV goes down in flames, but I don't see that as happening, the founder nrrhrnrh or whatver his name is will not go down without a fight. He thinks he's not a patent troll, but others who are against him "hate intellectual property." Reminds me of people who "hate america" because they don't agree with you.
      • by Homology (639438)
        > Reminds me of people who "hate america" because they don't agree with you.

        There are those innocent children and women that do not agree you to be bombed....
      • IV may never file a patent lawsuit. IBM almost never does, because it's portfolio is so big that everyone settles with them. You may be able to invalidate several of their patents, but you'll never get them all. IV may accumulate enough patents to follow IBM's strategy.
    • by tomjen (839882)
      True, but if a company is know for draking every patent through the entire court system and never negotiate then the patent trolls are more likely to sue somebody else. So even if it cost more a blank "we do not engotiate with terroists" could be cheaper in the long run.
  • by Homology (639438) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:54AM (#15689861)
    From the article:

    Safelite allowed itself to be scared into settling, but not before the company looked at its software license agreement and saw that Oracle promised to indemnify the company against these claims.

    This show why indemnification clauses is bad for open source projects. So including something like Postfix into a Linux distro or a *BSD may very well open you up for litigation in the future under certain conditions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:04AM (#15689881)
    The Commission seems to have made its favorite dead cat return from the grave (where Parliament overwhelmingly sent it just months ago) this week:
    See recent links to key articles [slashdot.org] on Slashdot, as well as the latest attempts to spin the issue uncovered [futurezone.orf.at] (alleging double jeu - albeit in "Austrian" only, so far).
  • by rangeva (471089) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:17AM (#15689904) Homepage Journal
    The idea behind a patent is to be as vague as it can be but at the same time very specific! Sounds impossible? Well that's why a good patent costs a lot of money. The lawyers who write patents mission is to write something that will cover as much ground but on a specific quality of the product.
  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:41AM (#15689942)
    Dear Oracle,

    All your patents are belong to us. Please pay us money.

    Greetings,
    EpicRealms
  • No shit, Sherlock... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:44AM (#15689945) Homepage Journal
    EpicRealm's patents are vague and 'describe a technique where a web site updates only part of a website instead of having to rebuild the entire page. That may look a lot like DHTML, but apparently it isn't the same.

    I was able to do this before DHTML or PHP. It was called a dynamic CGI database script, and it was used for "realtime" CGI/HTML-based chatrooms (I typed something, unless you hit refresh after I typed it you'd have to hit refresh again to get your information that I sent...) The only thing that refreshed was a frame unless some interaction (this was all for a web RPG,) caused a change in other frames of the page. This sounds exactly like what I'm doing, without frames, and hell, you can onyl tell I'm using frames because I alow you to resize the damned windows for your resolution, so you've gotta be able to somewhat see the bars. Had I made this a fixed resolution and frame size, well, more people would play with the page in the upper-left corner of their web browser, but it'd still refresh the particular needed areas without "reloading" the page (since only one/two frame(s) is(are) changing, kinda just like how PHP can make this happen...)

    So I've had prior art to begin with, since.. 1997? (That is if I can pull up my old documentation from my old ISP/Provider and get a reliable backlog of files I made/uploaded to what I have backups of on my computer.) It's past 7 years so I guess I'm a couple years late, unless there's some potential extenuating circumstance I can talk about.. oh, wait! Almost any website TO-FUCKING-DAY can do things like that in PHP, Perl, RPG script, or even CGI script. Why are these idiots suing to begin with?!?!? Hello? Is anyone home in the CEO/Shareholder department? Do I need to smack you upside your head to get some rational and logical thought out of you? No - I take that back... we've probably already given potential proof that you and your entire IT department is semi-useless because we've already put your server traffic to a crawl only by looking at your whole site.

    Sorry for the rant, guys, but lots of this just screams BULLSHIT to me. I've done this - these guys obviously haven't figured out a way of implementing it - I could make a /. attack-worthy server using a two-month late unpaid geoshitties account, for fuck's sake, just by using the technique they describe - yet they don't seem to bother to employ it very well in their website, from what I can get cached from other mirror sites. :( They're full of crap, as far as I'm concerned.
    • >So I've had prior art to begin with, since.. 1997?

      You do realize that the patent protects the METHOD used, not the end result. You have been doing something that has the same end result, that is not prior art. Unless you used the same method as the patent describe, there is no prior art.

      >I was able to do this before DHTML or PHP. It was called a dynamic CGI database
      >script, and it was used for "realtime" CGI/HTML-based chatrooms (I typed
      >something, unless you hit refresh after I typed it you'd
  • by PianoComp81 (589011) on Monday July 10, 2006 @08:17AM (#15690188)
    I found the patent that EpicRealm holds. It was filed in 1999.
    EpicRealm patent [uspto.gov]

    Basically, the patent is about the web server receiving a request, and handing the request off to a page server. The page server finishes the request and responds to the client while the web server continues to handle other requests.

    This sounds very similar to many web applications in use today (J2EE, ASP.net, etc.). There are usually a few processes running with J2EE (the one I'm most familiar with). One handles the HTTP requests and then hands it off to another process to dynamically create the web page. The second processes send the generated page back to the HTTP processes, which sends it to the client. In the meantime, the HTTP process could have been handling other HTTP requests.
    • Actually it's a farm of page servers, probably load-balanced, with some kind of front-end HTTP server. It's not clear whether a dispatcher process is required between the two layers. It's also not particularly innovative given that the idea of load-balanced servers has been around for many years.

      Oracle might not be my favouritest guys in the world, but this one probably ought to go their way.
    • I found the patent that EpicRealm holds. It was filed in 1999.

      AH HAH! The Bubble strikes back!
    • Ahh, I was wondering the filing date; I know I was doing inline page updates (not frames), using script to dynamically replace content in 2000... a bit later that that.
  • This describes SSI. I believe I've been building sites for over 10 years with this. Does anyone know when it was first introduced. I have a reference back to 1995 [uiuc.edu]
    • I have just read the patent...
      It is not plain SSI, but SSI+CGI!
      What a innovation!
      • I also read the patent. It can be all that we both described. It only talks about CGI in prior art. If you use exec in SSI its what the patent describes. If you ask for the date in SSI, It's what the patent describes. A Web server with SSI and an Operating systems falls under the description of this patent.
    • Ah, the mighty NCSA webserver, from which the Apache project forked ("a bunch of patches" -> "apache" :-).

      Depending on just what feature you want to consider-- SSI's, cgi-bin execution, preforking servers which stick around to handle many requests (FastCGI, WebObjects, and the design of "normal" preforking HTTP servers themselves), integrated modules which can run stuff (mod_perl, mod_cgi, WebRex)-- ...either late 1994 or or 1995 would be the right timeframe.
  • Can't we just get this whole patent thing over with already? Just give M$ the patent on, "doing anything useful with a computer," label us all criminals, file lawsuits against us by the thousands each month, and create cartoons [captaincopyright.ca] to remind us that everything we create you thought of first with your vague wording.
  • It's ironic that a 'commercial' software house is being patent trolled [www.hi.is] especially after recent statements from Oracle regarding taking other peoples intellectual property.

    "We can just take Red Hat's intellectual property and make it ours, they just don't have it."

    Larry Ellison [itp.net]

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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