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Comment: Re:Nice (Score 1) 105

Are you seriously trying to imply that the only reason to address an ebola outbreak is to score popularity points?

I personally wouldn't think so, no. But the state of play as given easily supports the notion that, despite its independent merits, it's definitely a convenient political lever as well, a.k.a. "Rahm's Rule":

TFA states somewhat in passing that this is part of a package of so-called "anomalies" to the upcoming Continuing Resolution, including, as the article coyly puts it, "additional flexibility" for border control, without providing any numbers or other details. Being the curious sort, I just spent about 10 minutes looking for the actual details on the rest of the proposal and could find only a few me-toos of TFA. One therefore might be forgiven for wondering if the administration is teeing this up as the heartstring-front-runner to put pressure on Congress to accept its entire package of spending "anomalies" that's doubtless orders of magnitude larger than $58MM.

Comment: Re:I don't understand the injunction (Score 1) 30

The point of reference for "colorably different" is the patented features at issue (e.g., pinch/tap-to-zoom, snap-back scrolling), not the overall device.

Given that the patented features here are consumer-facing rather than internal functionality, design-around options would seem fairly limited short of yanking the offending feature altogether or replacing it with something fundamentally different (shake-to-zoom, anyone?). And if you skate too close to the edge of the ice on a design-around, a patentee is always free to request a contempt hearing (with a relatively low barrier to entry compared to the original litigation) to get a ruling on whether the new functionality is colorably different from that previously found to infringe.

As a practical matter, the injunction would have been a lot broader than the media account would lead you to believe.

Comment: Re:So, which is it? (Score 2) 151

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47606731) Attached to: Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

Did I, at any point, say I felt passengers deserved to die? No, I did not. . . . . Not every flight (for any airliner) is commercial, and not every flight carries passengers.

Nice attempt at backpedaling from your original cavalier, thoughtless, and utterly stupid comment, bucko, but you're stuck with it. The only scenario where somebody innocent doesn't die is if the only people on the plane, including the pilot, are the ones engaged in hacking into the plane's control system through the wifi to... wait for it... interfere with the flight controls and crash the plane. Hopefully even you can figure out why that scenario won't happen. Ever.

Comment: Re:Reality is... (Score 1) 125

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47534871) Attached to: Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human

Agree completely that people don't comprehend the ramifications of the enormous deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums in these so-called "low cost" plans. Add to that the tendency toward ultra-narrow provider networks and the resultant increase in risk of balance billing by out-of-network providers.

It's astounding to me how far people are willing to stick their heads in the sand to pretend that the current system is, in aggregate, "better" than the one that we already had.

Comment: Hardly a shocker (Score 5, Informative) 45

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47486979) Attached to: Appeals Court Affirms Old Polaroid Patent Invalid

The district court held the patent invalid under the old standard that was, in practice, more generous toward software algorithm patents. Then the Supreme Court decided CLS Bank, making software algorithm patents more difficult to obtain/keep. Under those circumstances, it would have been newsworthy if the Federal Circuit hadn't affirmed in this case.

Comment: Re:Why would you do that? (Score 1) 468

Private pilot here. I agree with everything you've said -- the entire piloting mindset revolves around the idea that redundancy (coupled, of course, with consistency, sobriety, and good judgment) keeps you alive. Now, different pilots take this principle to different levels, based in no small part on their own personal risk tolerance and how much they've seen go wrong in the past. I sat next to a 20-year commercial pilot on a flight last year, and he told me that he won't fly in anything with less than two engines anymore. That's further than I would go, but I get it.

Anyway, one of the fundamental pieces of redundancy in the entire process is the pilot. As many have observed, planes are designed so the pilot has at least a fighting chance of being able to bring it down in one piece even when many -- or all -- automated systems have failed. That's simply best practices. In my opinion (shared, I suspect, by most rational pilots in the world), giving up the ability to see out the front of the airplane if your shiny techno-gadget viewscreen fails is Just. Plain. Stupid. Imagine the feeling of utter helplessness: You have 2-3000 hours of flight time under your belt, you've flown your way out of countless near-fatal situations, and now you just have to sit there (along with your hundreds of passengers) and wait to die because you can't see out the front of the friggin' plane.

I predict this won't happen, at the very least within the term of the patent. If it does, I definitely won't be a passenger.

Comment: Re:Better summary: (Score 1) 184

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47246849) Attached to: Judge Orders DOJ To Turn Over FISA Surveillance Documents

but the DoJ has to 1) actually comply with the order

The judge would have wide discretion in issuing sanctions for contempt of the discovery order. I personally doubt this is the sort of thing where a whole bunch of people progressively higher up the food chain would be willing to take up residence in a jail cell. We'll see.

2) The judge actually agree on merits

Agreed, though I'm encouraged that one of the reasons in the opinion for ordering the docs to be submitted to the court was the DoJ's prior shady practices in the case: "The evidence in the record shows that some documents, previously withheld in the course of this litigation and now declassified, had been withheld in their entirety when a disclosure of reasonably segregable portions of those documents would have been required. Further, the withholding followed an Order from this Court expressing concern that the agency had failed to explain sufficiently why the withheld documents “would be so replete with descriptions of intelligence activities, sources and methods that no portions thereof would contain” reasonably segregable and producible, non-exempt information." As a result, she seems appropriately skeptical going into this round.

3) The DoJ not immediately file for an appeal due to matters of national saftey

I don't believe an order to produce classified documents is immediately appealable.

4) the DoJ actually give the information to the EFF

The judge should have the same contempt levers available here as in #1.

Comment: Re:Trust but verify (Score 1) 211

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47225617) Attached to: Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

I don't know of any challenges, but the principle in question seems nearly identical to the copyleft notion underlying the GPL -- a notion that went untested in court for a very long time because, basically, every attorney that looked at it decided it wasn't worth fighting.

At least some manufacturers of electric cars presumably will have more money splashing around than open-source software developers, and thus will be more attractive targets. Beyond that, I'd be careful analogizing very much at all between copyrights and patents -- they're two entirely separate bodies of law.

I'm not aware of any purchaser of a patent who has successfully argued that they can revoke a licensing commitment to a standards body, either. It seems to me that the precedent is rather firmly established.

It all depends on what you mean by "successfully argued." The real-world question is not whether an argument will ultimately carry the day at trial, but how much money you're going to spend either (1) fighting the case to get to trial, or (2) settling the case so you don't have to spend the money fighting and have the legal uncertainty hanging over your company's head. Those amounts tend to run in the millions of dollars for all but the true bottom-feeders, who may walk away for low-mid-six figures. Though it's a bit dated, here's a fairly good overview of the last several years of significant litigation over commitments to standards bodies. There have been a number of smaller cases as well.

Comment: Re:Trust but verify (Score 1) 211

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47225177) Attached to: Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

If you know of any examples of such a pledge being tested and enforced by a court, I'd appreciate seeing them. My understanding is that while the practice is somewhat in vogue recently, it's still very much a no-man's-land in terms of future certainty. For example, does the promise only apply to the initial promisor, or is the patent itself permanently impaired and future assignees take subject to that impairment? The last few years of litigation in the somewhat parallel area of licensing commitments to standard-setting organizations suggests that a lot of time and money will be spent trying to answer such questions.

Comment: Re:Trust but verify (Score 1) 211

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47224839) Attached to: Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

True enough, but if they're going to keep the patents in force then in my opinion this amounts to little more than a publicity stunt. If and when I can get from them on demand a fully-paid-up license to their entire portfolio for $1 so I have actual, legal, freedom to operate, I'll take this more seriously.

Comment: Re:Trust but verify (Score 4, Interesting) 211

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47224651) Attached to: Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

You're fully correct about the legal doctrine, but in reality there's a non-zero chance that it will cost you a very large number of dollars to defend a patent lawsuit filed by a future assignee who convinces the judge that even the "clearer statement" (1) wasn't so clear and/or (2) didn't apply to your particular use.

There's actually a simple way that Tesla could make this binding -- formally disclaim the rest of the term of the patents at the Patent Office.

37 C.F.R. 1.321 Statutory disclaimers, including terminal disclaimers.
(a) A patentee owning the whole or any sectional interest in a patent may disclaim any complete claim or claims in a patent. In like manner any patentee may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted. Such disclaimer is binding upon the grantee and its successors or assigns. A notice of the disclaimer is published in the Official Gazette and attached to the printed copies of the specification.

It will be interesting to see if they actually go that far.

Comment: Sensationalist article (Score 2) 139

by SlaveToTheGrind (#47222687) Attached to: Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

While it's no doubt fun to rail against Big Pharma and Greedy Trial Attorneys, Occam's Razor still holds true.

The piece of the proposed legislation that would have made the most meaningful real-world change in the system was making it easier to collect attorney's fees from losing parties that had taken unreasonable positions in the litigation (e.g., trolls). After the Supreme Court expanded the trial courts' ability to do just that in the Octane Fitness and Highmark cases a few weeks ago, that naturally took a significant amount of wind out of the legislative sails.

The legislative appetite to Just Do Something diminishes quite a bit when the playing field has materially changed and there's not yet any data on how much of the problem was curbed by that change.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.