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Google Transportation Patents Your Rights Online

Google Actually Patenting Its April Fools' Joke 152

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cart-decided-i-sucked-at-golf-and-went-home dept.
theodp writes "On April Fools' Day, Google joked it was partnering with NASCAR on self-driving cars. Google Racing, the search giant joshed, had its roots in Project Caddy, which demonstrated the viability of self-driving golf carts. And in the future, Google added tongue-in-cheek, your kids will travel unattended in driverless-car car pools. Funny stuff, huh? Only thing is, GeekWire reports the USPTO disclosed Thursday that Google actually has a patent pending for driverless golf carts, as well as cars that can autonomously pick up kids from school and be switched into 'sport mode,' where 'the vehicle may navigate through turns at the maximum speed that is safe.' In addition to cars, trucks and golf carts, Google's patent application calls dibs on autonomous busses, boats, airplanes, helicopters, lawnmowers, recreational vehicles, amusement park vehicles, trams, trains, and trolleys. Google also describes how its invention will enable autonomous police cars to conduct high speed chases and give law enforcement vehicles 'a limited amount of control over nearby vehicles.' So, is the patent application legit, or did Google team up with the USPTO on a belated April Fools' goof?"
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Google Actually Patenting Its April Fools' Joke

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  • Can they do that? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samazon (2601193) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:25PM (#39602071)
    If they're applying for a patent, it means that they must have some sufficiently viable method of producing the tech. The "limited amount of control over nearby vehicles" sounds the most ominous, considering the inability of a percentage of law enforcement to not abuse their powers. I smell the singularity brewing inside the Googleplex....
    • by geekoid (135745)

      enforced speed limits; which would improve traffic immensely.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Entropius (188861)

        We'll make a trade: the police can insist that I follow their speed limits if those speed limits are set to the maximum speed that a well-maintained, maneuverable car can be driven safely under optimum conditions by a competent and alert driver.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by samazon (2601193)
          With an autopilot system in a car (assumedly controlled by GPS and googlemaps, of course) and considering all the fancy gadgetry in new cars to prevent collisions, the speed limits should increase significantly. I mean, how many accidents will occur once human error is removed from the equation?
          • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:38PM (#39602203) Homepage

            "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that"

            (Just goes through my head when I think of this subject.)

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:41PM (#39602245)

            You seem to imply that having autonomous cars removes human error from the equation. You are ignoring that:
            A) Not all cars will be autonomous; those that aren't are obviously susceptible to human error.
            B) The algorithms these cars use are still made by humans, and are thus susceptible to human error.
            C) Not all cars would be on the same level of communication. It's up to humans to devise a standard, which is susceptible to human error.
            D) There are always going to be humans not in cars on or around the streets, who are susceptible to human error.

            • by samazon (2601193)
              I wasn't implying anything. At some point, human error will be removed from the equation; it probably won't be in my lifetime, and the removal will probably be more along the lines of "reduced to a negligible amount" - maybe I read too much science fiction, maybe I read too much science fact, but I do mean technological singularity, and I do think that the path winds hence.

              It'll be neat, right?

              • by patchmaster (463431) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:11PM (#39603013) Journal

                Human error will be removed from the equation not long after humans are removed from the equation.

                Not all roads are limited access super-highways. I do most of my driving on surface streets. There is sufficiently little pedestrian traffic that one tends not to think about them, and just enough pedestrian traffic that forgetting about them becomes a big problem. Until you make it illegal for pedestrians to enter the roadway, there will be humans and human errors as parts of the equation.

                • by kurzweilfreak (829276) <kurzweilfreak&gmail,com> on Friday April 06, 2012 @10:23PM (#39604305) Journal
                  Computers can make decisions much faster than people with sensors that can't get distracted. Where a human is thinking "wow, look at that hot girl as I pass her by OH SHIT A KID IN THE ROAD!!!!!", the computer will easily sense the suddenly oncoming child and automatically respond safely rather than wildly swerve out of the way while locking up the brakes. I don't see why pedestrian traffic would be any more of a problem for autonomous vehicles than any other obstacle.

                  Obviously that's not to say that these accidents will NEVER happen, but I'm confident that the statistic will drop by multiple orders of magnitude.

                  • I was responding to a message that said everything will be fine when human error is removed from the system. My intent was to point out that as long as humans and vehicles are allowed to mingle, human error can never be removed. Pedestrians will do stupid things. They'll have their mind on something else entirely and stupidly step off the curb into traffic. Kids will dash out into the street from between parked cars.

                    Can the car be programmed to react to these situations? Sure. Will it be able to tell the di

                • Not all roads are limited access super-highways. I do most of my driving on surface streets.

                  And a lot of other people live and work in different towns to exploit the higher wages in one locality and the lower real estate cost in another. They might have a 50 mile commute to work, most of which is on a limited access interstate highway.

                  Until you make it illegal for pedestrians to enter the roadway

                  From signs posted at the on-ramps to interstate highways where I live:

                  PEDESTRIANS, BICYCLES,
                  MOTORIZED BICYCLES,
                  NON-MOTORIZED TRAFFIC
                  PROHIBITED

              • by geekoid (135745)

                there will be no singularity.

                Sorry.

            • You seem to imply that having autonomous cars removes human error from the equation. You are ignoring that: B) The algorithms these cars use are still made by humans, and are thus susceptible to human error.

              Algorithms are not susceptible to human error, requirements for those algorithm's are. If you want to make sure the requirements are correct, you won't leave it to the government. And actual safe speed of a vehicle through a specific piece of terrain is often grossly under the limits of the vehicle, and the limits of the vehicle are often grossly above what the human body can tolerate. Traffic collisions are the cause of people without proper training or experience to know the capabilities of their vehicle

              • by geekoid (135745)

                yes, those pesky government type with there algorithms that let place fly with out pilots, have a machine exciting are solar system, create better traffic flow.

                The government is who you want making those algorithms because they hire the smartest people.

            • You forget that there are plenty of non human things that can go wrong:
              A) Electronics can fail. Even redundant systems can fail.
              B) Mechanics can fail in a way that the electronics aren't programmed to handle.
              C) Environmental/External factors (i.e. EMP, sunflares, viruses, trojans, etc) can corrupt the required processing/communications.

              • How many planes crash on a yearly basis due to these non-human error failures? These seem to be all the same issues that airplanes would have to deal with also. Honestly, I'd like to know the statistics. I have a feeling it's a very, very low rate.
                • How many planes crash on a yearly basis due to these non-human error failures

                  There was one yesterday

                  • Yes, and it was such a rare occurrence that it made national news. What are the yearly statistics on these kind of events? I really want to know.
          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            I mean, how many accidents will occur once human error is removed from the equation?

            Yes, because we all know [howstuffworks.com] that GPS and street information can never be wrong. That truck driver won't just be stuck under the overpass, he'll be all the way through (just missing a bit of the trailer), since the vehicle will be going full, safe speed for that unpaved part of the superhighway.

            • by geekoid (135745)

              well don'e you've boiled it down to the most extreme examples and ignored the on board safety system.

              You really have no argument if you have to go to such extremes.

              • by Obfuscant (592200)

                You really have no argument if you have to go to such extremes.

                I went to no extremes. I simply pointed out that removing the human factor from the system doesn't necessarily mean that things will work better and there will be fewer accidents.

                Humans are remarkably resilient and able to solve problems that computers cannot. Risk's Digest is filled with case of computer and system failure.

                If a human sees that the "superhighway" that his computerized driving system has him on is made of gravel, he can override the system a long time before the "three inch sensor sticki

                • by geekoid (135745)

                  Yes you did. You used examples that are completely unrealistic to haw driverless cars work.

                  "Humans are remarkably resilient and able to solve problems that computers cannot"
                  yes, but there are some problem computers can solve better and faster.

                  IN you example the system would realize it wasn't on the correct road in microseconds. It and probably adjust.

                  Computers system as FAR BETTER at getting dimension then humans are. Humans are horrible at getting accurate speed, distance, size.

                  And it would use laser find

                  • by HiThere (15173)

                    There are those who agree with you that there will be no singularity. I, on the other hand, believe that we are currently in the middle of one. If we are quite lucky, we will live through it. I have no real idea what it would be like on the other side, but clearly this rate of change can't keep accelerating forever.

                    N.B.: The technological singularity is an ANALOGY to a mathematical singularity. It's not isomorphic. Just about nobody actually believes that we will reach an infinite rate of change. The

                  • by Obfuscant (592200)

                    IN you example the system would realize it wasn't on the correct road in microseconds. It and probably adjust.

                    My only error was in talking about the driver being stuck. In a driverless vehicle that failed, there would be nobody there with the vehicle. Just a vehicle stuck under an overpass.

                    You ASSUME that the system is perfect and that the computer in the car would "realize" (very anthropomorphic, by the way) that it wasn't on the right street. Just like the tens or hundreds of examples of bogus map data in modern GPS has alerted the driver that he wasnt on the right road. We have examples of existing failure mod

                • removing the human factor from the system doesn't necessarily mean that things will work better and there will be fewer accidents.

                  Absolutely. But not for the reasons you suggest.

                  Removing the human factor means ducks will be writing and testing the software, and hedgehogs will be designing and testing the hardware. Which will lead to such problems as failing to give way to dogs or stupidly using the horn to "warn" kangaroos to stay off the road.

            • I mean, how many accidents will occur once human error is removed from the equation?

              Yes, because we all know [howstuffworks.com] that GPS and street information can never be wrong. That truck driver won't just be stuck under the overpass, he'll be all the way through (just missing a bit of the trailer), since the vehicle will be going full, safe speed for that unpaved part of the superhighway.

              Lets see, since there cameras and sensors all over these autonomous vehicles, I guess it will be literally impossible to add one more sensor that sticks up about 3 inches or so above the trailer to detect potential collisions. Plus bridges are often labeled with signs indicating their height. It would literally be impossible to have all of those cameras OCR those signs as an additional indicator of a potential collision. And since I thought of these 2 possibilities in 60 seconds, theres no way there could p

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          Sure, you won't be driving anyway. And the robot driver will drive as fast as it is programmed to believe is safe (or efficient if that's that's what is actually cared about).

        • You had me up to "...under optimum conditions by a competent and alert driver."

          Define "competent and alert driver"

        • by geekoid (135745)

          It will be better then that since it can calculate optimum flow based on far more variables. Number of vehicles, acceleration / deceleration ramp load, and consistent speed.

          people will perceive it as slower, but it will actually be faster over all.

          "by a competent and alert driver."
          it will be far more competences and alert then you are.

          AS soon as you add another human driver to the road, the speed that can be driven safely drops dramatically.
          You're control and safe speed is an illusion based in you own bias

        • by treeves (963993) on Friday April 06, 2012 @05:04PM (#39602453) Homepage Journal

          So when a less-than-alert driver driving a less-than-well-maintained car is driving over the ridiculously low speed limit in less-than-optimal conditions on the less-than optimally maintained road on which you also happen to be driving doesn't end up killing you: is that worth anything?

          • Re:Can they do that? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:20PM (#39603851) Journal
            Give that post a mod point!

            As a licensed driver for 35yrs I say anyone who cannot comprehend that point and obey the posted speed limit is NOT a competent driver. Turns out any fool with lady luck in the passenger seat can push a rust busket to it's 'safe limits' and survive to drink another beer. I was definitely an incompetent driver when I was young and I fully deserved the 4-5yrs of constant legal trouble that came my way because of it. Looking back now, having seen friends and teenage children of friends die from the sheer arrogant stupidity that seems inate to young men in cars I realise how very fortunate I was not to have maimed or killed someone.

            Ignoring speed limits and driving at the 'safe limits' of a car on a public road really requires the ability to accurately read the minds of everyone else around you. Since accurate mind reading requires an exchange of tea leaves we have the next best thing, road rules! There's also a licensing regime to ensure every driver knows how every other driver expects them to behave. Watch a police chase on the TV, the only reason the perp and the cops can drive like that is because the other drivers are abiding by the rules and behaving in a predictable manner. In fact when a semi-driver listening to his CB radio DISOBEYS the rules and blocks two lanes then the perp is fucked.

            Now to assume every driver in day to day traffic will strictly adhere to the rules is suicidal, but knowing what to expect makes incompetent drivers much easier to spot and avoid, even when the incompetent driver is a younger more alert you..

            Your's sincerly,
            Crusty Old Bastard.
            • by russotto (537200)

              As a licensed driver for 35yrs I say anyone who cannot comprehend that point and obey the posted speed limit is NOT a competent driver. Turns out any fool with lady luck in the passenger seat can push a rust busket to it's 'safe limits' and survive to drink another beer. I was definitely an incompetent driver when I was young and I fully deserved the 4-5yrs of constant legal trouble that came my way because of it. Looking back now, having seen friends and teenage children of friends die from the sheer arrog

            • by HiThere (15173)

              The posted speed limit is only significant if there isn't much traffic. If there is significant traffic, the safest speed is just slightly less than the average of what that other traffic is doing. Note that this speed is usually insanely dangerous, as the amount of time required to stop is such that you won't be able to. This is why freeways frequently have "chain-reaction" accidents.

              IOW, I consider most drivers to be incompetent, and believe that they drive faster than is safe. But those who drive exc

              • That was the OP's point. It's not about you and how much traffic there is, it's about what other people expect of you and the traffic. If you're on a German freeway or an outback highway, the other people (or lack thereof) are expecting you to be moving like a rocket car, in a 55 zone they expect you to be moving at 55mph +/- 5mph. Problem in the outback is that Camels have no understanding of road rules, the stupid fuckers run away from you in a straight line down the middle of the road, consequently the n
        • by zoloto (586738)

          the police can insist that I follow their speed limits...

          These limits do not belong to the police. The police do not set the rules, laws, limits etcetera. They merely enforce with some measure of consistency.

      • by mug funky (910186)

        probably more about getting nearby vehicles out of the way quick smart before they get t-boned.

        would be amazing for those blind/deaf/selfish SUVs that don't get out of the way when an Ambulance is coming up behind them. i'd rather ambos and fireys have this tech than your regular Melbourne cop though.

        • Sometimes you have to fight arseholes with arseholes. I think Melbourne's cops are doing a great job in that respect!

          Since the time I started HS (1969) to the present, I have seen Melbourne's cops become more and more strict on road rules, especially drinking and speeding. The number of cars on the road must be at least 10x what it was back then. However the road toll in that same time period has been reduced by ~80%. Yes, seatbelts and other technical meausres are part of that, but they are not the fu
    • I just googled that question and got the response, "Yes, I can." So there ya go.
    • by houghi (78078)

      If they're applying for a patent, it means that they must have some sufficiently viable method of producing the tech.

      No, it means they are afraid that somebody else has.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      If they're applying for a patent, it means that they must have some sufficiently viable method of producing the tech.

      Why? Patent trolls certainly don't...

      • by samazon (2601193)
        You're right. I'm assuming (and we all know what that means...) that when Google applied for the patent they did so with the intent of receiving the patent (properly, with schematics and specific detail), rather than as a way to keep other companies from working on the tech.
        • by HiThere (15173)

          I understand why they applied for those patents, but they shouldn't get them. Those should count as obvious extensions once you are given a self-driving car.

          OTOH, if they don't apply for the patents, someone else will. And since Google can justly apply for many patents on the self driving car, as long as any additional patents that are granted on the same invention are held by them, no major harm is done. But it would be much better for those patents to be denied because of prior art (literary only, of c

    • Re:Can they do that? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CAIMLAS (41445) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:42PM (#39602249) Homepage

      They're going to have a hard time controlling all the older vehicles, too, nevermind the ones which run without any electronics (other than the battery and coil).

      Oh, right - that's why they wanted to get rid of all those highly efficient older and still serviceable vehicles from the 1980s via Cash for Clunkers: you can't chip or wirelessly control a vehicle which has no computer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        except they aren't highly efficient.

        I mean, yeah getting the polluters of the road is mart of an evil master scheme.

        twit.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          In absolute power? No. But in fuel economy, many of them were. They offered a lot more utility than your average modern sedan, or whatever you want to call the Prius.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Check out the numbers. Keeping an old car running is usually much less polluting than replacing it with a new car, even if that car gets many more MPG. And the hybrids are much worse than the simple figures indicate, as you need to calculate in all the pollution caused by the construction of their batteries.

    • by Zordak (123132)

      If they're applying for a patent, it means that they must have some sufficiently viable method of producing the tech. The "limited amount of control over nearby vehicles" sounds the most ominous, considering the inability of a percentage of law enforcement to not abuse their powers. I smell the singularity brewing inside the Googleplex....

      Actually, all it means is that they have filed a patent application. You can file an application on any old nonsense you want as long as you pay the filing fee. But looking at this application (without spending any substantial time on it), it looks like they have a fairly beefy disclosure. In any case, this doesn't look like a "joke" application. This looks like the real thing.

      • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday April 06, 2012 @05:21PM (#39602603)

        That's really disappointing, given the number of auto manufacturers who could and should be given the opportunity to pursue driverless cars without a by-your-leave from Google. I mean the idea has long been around in sci-fi, look at Arnie's Johnny cab in Total Recall. And it is just an idea at this point. It would be like patenting horseless carriages or something.

        • open sourcing it (Score:4, Informative)

          by schlachter (862210) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:30PM (#39603159)

          They're waiting on Google to open source their autonomous car OS...so that Google can make money on the ads it can display to your surfing the web, checking email, or watching youtube videos...instead of driving.

        • by Zordak (123132)

          Well, this isn't yet a patent on anything. It's just an application. And even if the claims issue as they're now written, it's not a patent on the basic idea of driverless cars. "I claim a car that operates itself without a driver" would immediately be shot down by the examiner on prior art and probably on lack of specificity too.

          This application is claiming a specific method of automatically driving a car. Granted, claim 1 as it's currently written is fairly broad, but if it survives without Google having

    • The description suggests a risk of prior art being easy (I'll bet a number of slashdotters have automated lawn mowers and even more have vacuums). However, the patent trolling RIM got a few years back shows you don't have to DO anything to file a patent on an idea, just get there first. People who couldn't even afford to SeaLaunch a satellite described wireless communication devices that people might use for email exchange and ten years later, someone they sold it to, who had then been bought by another c

      • by Golddess (1361003)

        I'll bet a number of slashdotters have automated lawn mowers

        Was gonna make a comment about "and they didn't even need to build it themselves!", with the intent to link back to a story on /. about automated lawn mowers, but my google-fu fails me, so beginning to wonder if I imagined seeing such a story.

        (TFS didn't mention vacuums, which is why I didn't include that portion of GP's post and did not also mention the Roomba, which has shown up on /. a few times.)

        (In before conspiracy theories about Google pulling search results to hide prior art.)

    • by meerling (1487879)
      Well, since there is massive prior art, and the concept of automated vehicles has been in the public eye for nearly a century, they can't have a patent on automated vehicles. On the other hand, they can get a patent on a specific automation system for a vehicle.
    • by HiThere (15173)

      Automated cars/trucks etc. would not cause a singularity. They MIGHT lead to a human level AI which would, but I actually thing that an automated car wouldn't need to be much smarter than a dog. It might need a larger vocabulary, but that's not exactly intelligence.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:26PM (#39602077)

    cars that can autonomously pick up kids from school and be switched into 'sport mode,' where 'the vehicle may navigate through turns at the maximum speed that is safe.'

    This is definitely going to be an improvement over those interminably long, boring bus rides I've known as a kid. Think of the children - support hyperspeed school buses!

    • by idontgno (624372)

      support hyperspeed school buses!

      I think we've seen [imdb.com] how this ends.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My bus driver in High School was the worst/scariest driver I have ever seen. She ("Mrs. Scott") Routinely ran red lights, tailgated, doubled the speed limits and is seemed like half or the turns she tried to get the bus on to two wheels.
      One day after school she didn;t show up, It turns out that she had totalled the bus. It didn't seem to cost her the job though. I am so surprisd that we didn't get tagged the four years she drove us.

  • Precedent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tool462 (677306) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:28PM (#39602097)

    It's quite the achievement [slashdot.org] turning an April Fool's joke into an actual product.

    • by a_hanso (1891616)

      I think I misunderstood the title. I was expecting this:

      System and Method for Making Untrue and Fantastical Claims Targeted at a Selected Individual on a Specific Calendar Date, Observing Said Individual's Reaction as a Group, Later Revealing the Claim to be Untrue and Further Observing the Individual's Embarrassment, Thereby Experiencing Enjoyment.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:36PM (#39602183) Homepage

    This [slashdot.org] is [slashdot.org] hardly [slashdot.org] a [slashdot.org] new [slashdot.org] story. [slashdot.org]

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:48PM (#39602313) Homepage

    Google has been experimenting in self driving vehicles for years now, that part was not a April Fools joke.
    They might have joked about partnering with Nascar, but it actually sounds reasonable. And they very much are researching and building prototypes of driver-less vehicles.

  • Patents aren't really intended for patenting ideas, so Google is smart for trying to sneak this one through during a time (i.e. "this century") when the patent office seems to approve anything if you pay for it. Smart. Evil, but smart. Someday the patent office will be corrected, and then they'll already have patented what other people had been working on for decades.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday April 06, 2012 @04:56PM (#39602391) Homepage Journal
    Looks like Tesla (and the Nazi's) beat ya to it, [google.com] Goog.
  • somebody patent the use of autonomous technology to allow a driver to partake in an interactive advertisement, or otherwise immersed in an advertisement experience that under standard non-autonymous conditions would be unsafe.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That wasn't an April Fools Joke. They have a self-driving car that has gone 200,000 miles in california. Their April Fools Joke was that google maps added nintendo mode.

  • Ummmm, we've known that google was working on autonomous cars LONG before this April fools day. The entire point of the joke was that they 1. Are working on this technology. 2. Joke being about Nascar having a driverless google car. I don't see the point of this post. If the joke was that they were going to be putting Google Glasses on penguins in the north pole, would this post been about how their Aprili fools joke is leading to Augmented reality glasses?
  • In 'Surely you're joking' he describes the last days of the Manhattan project, where they made up patent ideas for nuclear everything (cars, planes, etc). They considered it a joke at the time. There's a copy of that bit of the story online here [myspace.com].

    However, if you did come up with some fundamental technology, and had the cash to file all the patents, it seems like a plan - though not for the inventor. Feynman's cut was just $1.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      If I'm not mistaken his idea was for a nuclear propelled space vehicle, not so absurd after all.
  • "give law enforcement vehicles 'a limited amount of control over nearby vehicles." to be used only on suspects and criminals of course i.e., having a different opinion than that of the state.
  • Google is the new Microsoft.

    • at least they're not the 'old' Microsoft. The 'new' one is much better. :P

    • by geekoid (135745)

      yes, building automatic cars is just like MS.

      Idiot.

      • by jmcvetta (153563)

        Filing overbroad patents is just like Microsoft.

        Tardmunch.

        • But are the patents actually overbroad, or is the three line summary overview of the patent that the media latches onto in order to make a story the only thing that's overbroad? Nobody can patent the concept of an autonomous car, only specific implementations of it.
  • Why is this news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tanman (90298) on Friday April 06, 2012 @05:20PM (#39602599)

    Did people suddenly forget all of the news regarding Google self-driving car technology? Did people honestly think a company would be publicly spending millions of dollars doing something like this and not patent it?

    https://www.google.com/search?q=google+self+driving+car&tbm=nws

    Here is a bunch more "news" about google's self-driving cars.

  • Does that mean /. will trade-mark the "OMG ita PONIEEZ"

  • by tomhath (637240) on Friday April 06, 2012 @05:43PM (#39602791)
    This appears to be a leaked video of Google's Autonomous Farm Equipment [youtu.be]
  • You can't patent anything which debuts on April 1. Since 1921, the US Patent and Trade Office has rejected any patent filed on the first of April.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:35PM (#39603195) Journal

    Because right now, the real April Fool's day joke is the entire U.S. Patent Office, and they seem to think April first lasts all year.

    It's sad that I thought of that as gallows humor at first, but quickly came to the conclusion that it's roughly congruent with my actual opinion about all these legal entities girding their loins for patent wars. The system was meant to foster invention by protecting the private rewards of individual ingenuity, and the will to bring a product to market (not necessarily by the inventor). Patents were never intended to be stockpiled in this fashion. The system is being abused, and the USPTO is legally bound to obey laws desperately in need of legislative review and reform. Maybe it's Congress that is the joke here.

    Of course, Google's leadership is smart enough that it's just possible they're trying to demonstrate how broken this is, by hastening its collapse. No CEO or board can possibly like the escalating Mutual Assured Destruction environment that is brewing in corporate conglomerate patent holdings. It's extremely volatile, and an unstable way to do business.

  • Where any moron can shit out an idea, and just kick back and wait for someone else to eventually do all the hard work bringing it to life, just to be sued out of existence by original shithead who had a dream, but in reality barley has the skills to wipe their own ass.

    Its like that fucktard on development forums that has the best game ever created by man in his mind, and is willing to give you credit for actually writing the god damned thing, except the patent system is not even THAT sweet of a deal.

    God ble

  • This stops others, especially Slashdot, from publishing fake April Fool stories

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