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United States

Supreme Court Weakens Design Protection Patents 110

werdna writes: "A recent article criticized Apple for overreaching by asserting "design protection" for the product configuration of its iMac line. Apparently the United States Supreme Court might agree with Slashdotters in an appropriate case. In a decision handed down yesterday, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Brothers, Inc., the Court held that product design, like color, cannot be inherently distinctive and obtain trademark-like protections, until it has acquired distinctiveness such that the marketplace naturally perceives the design to be a designation of product source, such as in the way that "International Business Machines" is associated with products from a company in Armonk rather than a general description for typewriters sold internationally. Thus, absent a design patent, it has just become substantially tougher to obtain protections for industrial designs. Time will tell how important this decision will be."
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Supreme Court Weakens Design Protection Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    * The iMac did save Apple in many ways.

    * Does not have enough software for...MacOS I presume? Double-standard then. Linux has WINE, a variety of DOS emulators, viewers for Word documents, attempts to make any Window interface like something else (gnome, kde all have themes that largely mimic other desktops). You can't but WANT to run other software. Macs similarly have emulators, just as they have native ware.

    * You'd be hard pressed to name something that runs on the PC that doesn't have a comparable program that runs on an iMac, esp. given that the iMac can run linux.

    * You show me ONE commerically available PC machine, pre iMac, that had that size monitor and took up less volume and footprint than the iMac.

    * Did I mention the iMac runs Linux?

    * The Linux world doesn't have squat that looks like OS X. You know what? The community will just go and copy that.

    * Users are too stupid? My first 5 machines were 040 Centris and Quadras. I learned unix, thanks to NetBSD and OpenBSD ports. I know own 15 machines, running BeOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Redhat, Windows, Solaris x86 all well and competently. Some of the best coders I've seen use Macs. And that's by YOUR silly standards. A lot of Mac users sure might not be all that great, but they also include teachers, doctors, and researchers, musicians and artists, writers and wonks, that need to use a computer to get their other work done. Needless to say, these people kick your ass in other areas, so I wouldn't go calling them stupid.

    * Linux will continue to go nowhere as an OS and a community with people like you.
  • >I don't see how this decision could be used to thwart Apple's attempts
    to protect the iMac design and "look" by design patent.

    According to the decision, product design cannot obtain protection
    unless it has "acquired distinctiveness such that the marketplace
    naturally perceives the design to be a designation of product source".

    I don't see how either. Doesn't the design of the iMAC fall under "acquired distinctiveness such that the marketplace
    naturally perceives the design to be a designation of product source".? In other words wasn't the design of the iMac one of it's big selling/marketing points which really wasn't the case with the Acer Aspire series of computers?
  • That no matter what system you devise, you're going to have the "tyranny of the ruling class". In a democracy, it's the "tyranny of the majority". Might does not make right.

    The founding fathers of the U.S. knew this: no single political principle can work without a counterbalance.

    (which is arguably why we have private property and free markets.)
  • You bastard! Fix the link ;)
  • I don't see how this decision could be used to thwart Apple's attempts to protect the iMac design and "look" by design patent. According to the decision, product design cannot obtain protection unless it has "acquired distinctiveness such that the marketplace naturally perceives the design to be a designation of product source".

    As your latter points have shown, this probably won't affect the iMac. It does have a distinct design.

    The tact Apple should take if eMachines uses this case is: Why did eMachines choose the design they did. Does it offer any functional advantages over other, similar (ie unified unit, which dates back to early Sol and CBM machines, among others) designs? Does it offer any manufacturing advantages? If neither is truth (and I doubt they are) then does it offer a MARKETING advantage? If the answer is yes, I'd argue that is a prima faca admittion of a distinctive design.

    I do not necessarily agree that the ruling is "right" and that Apple really should be allowed to obtain protection for its design. I am merely asserting that according to the ruling, Apple is probably entitled to this protection

    Here, I part company with you. I see this as a broader desendant of 'look and feel' cases. Unless a party can show distinctiveness that would allow, basically, fraud (ie, you think you're buying X when it's really Y because of design copying) design in and of itself shouldn't be protected. That would allow silliness like Sony taking on other CD distributors for design infringement for round CDs (an extreme example, yes, but you get the idea).

  • When the public sees an iMac-esque computer, what do they think of? Apple's iMacs, that's what. It's not that I feel Apple should be able to control who uses what cases, I just think that companies like eMachines that are blatently stealing Apple's designs... well, I think they're theives. Am I wrong?

    I knew a girl in Metz, France about ten years ago. Whenever I (or any of the Americans I knew) saw her, we thought of Kim Basinger. Thief!

    Of course we knew she wasn't Kim Basinger. And no member of the public could get past the first boot-up or amy demo screen without seeing the Win95 logo and Start Button.

    There's a big difference between being "reminiscent of" and being "confusing". Any person who confuses a Win machine with a Mac doesn't have any idea what "mac" even means. E-machines didn't confuse them. They walked in confused on such a fundamantal level that they wouldn' recognize a non-iMac as a legitimate Mac (I've seen it happen with Quadra's and PPCs -- "That's not a Mac!")

    Now if you want to argue that E-machines deliberately confuse users about their integrated video (onboard chips charing main memory and system bus, rather than separate video RAM on a separate card with its own on-card RAMDAC bus) I'd be on your side

    My new .sig: Join AMSAT [amsat.org]
  • by Mullen ( 14656 )

    When I see an iMac dsign, I think of stupid people with too much money, calmering for the Next Big Thing That Will Save Apple but really only helps it put it other foot in the grave because any person with a clue buys a IBM PC and runs Windows or Linux or FreeBSD or BeOS and does not become another sucker that paid too much for a dream of Steve Jobs, whom is a tool of Bill Gates, which does not have enough software, who users are too stupid to learn how use something with more power.

    Death to iMac
    Death to Steve Jobs
    Death to Pretty Machines
    Death to clueless computer users

  • When I see the translucent iMac case I think of those neon phones that were trendy during the late 80s (Eeek there goes that Y2K bug again) and early 90s.
    (Thats 19xx btw for you historian types who are reviewing this in the Y3Ks)
    When I see the case shape of the iMac I think of the Dec VT100 who has the same shape.
    The iMac is mostly taken from the Mac but the look is very much cloned. The engenearing is however Apples own design.
  • Doesn't anyone either READ or THINK before editorializing in the postings in these news articles?

    The headline on the article is "Supreme Court Weakens Design Patents" However the article says NO SUCH THING!!! The article talks about trademarks, WHICH ARE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM DESIGN PATENTS for crissakes.

    In addition it goes on to say this ruling applies "until it (the item) has acquired distinctiveness such that the marketplace naturally perceives the design to be a designation of product source". Well duh! I would like see any kind of reasonable proof of the concept that the iMac design has not acquired this distinctiveness in the market!!! How many people will not immediately know ON SIGHT from ANY angle that the source is Apple Computer!!!

    The chances of this affecting Apple's case are similar to those of all my molecules' thermal vibration all lining up in the vertical direction at once!

    The matter of agreeing with slashdotters in this case is without thought as well. MANY slashdotters sided with Apple on this - these iMac case clones are CLEARLY instances of attempted ripoff. PERIOD. There is no defense against copying such material. Any company producing a design that has achieved such recognition in the marketplace, as well as in popular culture iteslf (see the recent Time Magazine or articles on the recent Design trade show in NYC as to the importance of the iMac design) would fight tooth and nail to protect this identity. The iMac is achieving a level of recognition matched only by icons like the coke bottle.

    ON TOP of all these errors, the Slashdot article that this item was linked to is in itself full of errors i.e. :iMac Look Protected by Copyright. WRONG. This is a trademark issue, NOT a copyright issue.

    The fact is that trademark law is important for both companies and consumers. Without trademark law anyone would be free to sell any liquid they want in a copy of a Mountain Dew can. You would have NO protection against conterfeit labels on goods in the market. Trademarks are essential to a well ordered commerce, PERIOD.

    This news item is one of the greatest negative examples of internet journalism I have ever seen.
  • I know the post was in jest, but anyone who had a C=64 knows that Commodore had that color first. Only by 10 years.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    You should read the artical again. This has nothing directly to do with apple at all. Its a small company, and walmart. Walmart ripped off there design, the company sued, and walmart won.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    You show me ONE commerically available PC machine, pre iMac, that had that size monitor and took up less volume and footprint than the iMac.

    Some of the corporate boxen were smaller, to small to fit PCI cards in horozontaly, actualy. You put the monitor on top, so the footprint was smaller then an Imac, quite a bit smaller. And you could even use a 17inc monitor with them.
  • Of all the double thinking, twisted arguments... Man this takes the cake. Hello? Read the news lately? Read the ARTICLE? The judgment is precisely designed to make it harder for assholes to harass people.

    If by assholes, you mean independent, small companies, and by 'people' you mean Wal-Mart, then you would be correct. However, that was exactly what the previous poster was trying to say, so I'm not exactly sure where the 'doublethink' is.

    While the legal precedent set may be helpful in this specific case, its almost certain to help 'HUGEcorp'
  • How can you define what they did as _right_ without creating a slippery slope that is going to wind up extending far beyond this case?

    Let them get with this, and maybe ten years from now nobody will have any protection from blatant copies of original designs. It can go both ways, you know? Even for designs way more than original than the iMac.
  • Design Patents are a legal backwater because of the seeming overlap with trademarks and copyrights. If the Supreme Court has truly done away with "look and feel" legal crap, then only the design patent remains as a protection for the superficial aspects of a product design.

    I think Apple actually lost their "look and feel" lawsuit years ago, so this likely won't affect much in the software industry anyway.

  • Fool me once, shame on you... But never again will I be caught be either you or the Don Knotts fellow. Begone foul troll!

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Being a multimedia artist, I understand the fear of getting copied and ripped off. It would really piss me off if I worked my ass off night and day, having to support an industrial design team + R&D to design a unique computer enclosure, and find out that a small company just peeked at our product and copied it. They didn't spend all the time and money developing the ideas, defining the problems, explore visuals, evaluate, test, or refine ideas. Basically the other company just rode our back, lifting our ideas and stealing our development. Hell, they'd put me out of a job. Imagine if Micro$oft decided, "hey let's put out a package called Winux!" They would design the interface almost completely like common variations of Linux GUIs and package them almost exactly the same. They figure that most bonehead consumers have been interested in this "Linux craze" and rush to the stores wondering if they can put this miracle OS on their PC. Well, they find all these Winux boxes that look like the Red Hat distribution boxes with screenshots that look almost exactly like the Linux ones on the Internet. How about if Toyota designed a breakthrough design for its new Celica (for example, the 2000 one --heheh like it or not). Let's say it spent them three years doing the development, spending the money on research, evaluating materials, testing and refining comprehensive designs. What the heck would happen if Ford had a materials plant ready and just waited until this Celica hit the market and built an Escort that looked almost exactly the same? Ford spends zero time developing the design because they figure, "hell screw'em.. Toyota can waste all their cash on the innovative thinking work, we'll just copy the resulting work and make money off the fever generated by excited consumers who can't tell the difference!" In conclusion, I'd crack some heads if I found out people leeched off my designs to make money for themselves unless I explicitly meant for that to happen.

    -----
    Linux user: if (nt == unstable) { switchTo.linux() }
  • I loathe the iMac and much of what it stands for -- especially that fruity design (not to mention that ridiculous mouse). Yeah, it's a little fruity, and the mouse sucks, but the concept is valid and I bet alot of pc companies are pissed they were too coporately hard-headed to think of it first. The iMac represents more than fruity colors, it's conceptually very valid. It comes with a built in NIC and no floppy. Apple makes all it's system software bootable from a cd, so there's no stringent need for floppies. Keeps the price down, makes the computer prettier. Bottom line here is that Apple was not only saving a buck but looking forward towards a net-centric approach to computing. Need software? Get it from the net. Wanna move files? Do it across a network or the net. Were they wrong with these assumptions? How many Linux users and Open Source horn-blowers could survive more than 2 days without net access?
    But I digress. Emachines deserved to get spanked. So does anyone else who blatantly copies an innovative, quality design that another company has spent countless dollars and hours working on.
  • Why? Because it took manufacturer's soooo long to copy those "elements" from the Taurus. You see, the Taurus had been a concept car of Ford's since the late 60's (one element, that was in the concept vehicle, but never made it to production, was enclosed wheel wells, to cut down on air resistance) - I have a Popular Mechanix (or Pop Sci) of the period detailing the entire vehicle - imagine my suprise when Ford FINALLY released it nearly 20 years later...
  • They cover functional design. There's no new function in the iMac. It seems to me that the all-in-one-box computer has been around for a while, at least since 1984. Clear plastic casing doesn't really change the function of the cabinet in any way.

    Artistic creation, however, is covered by copyright law. And copyrighting a design is the simplest thing. Merely file the papers, submit two exemplars and wait about 6 weeks for your copyright certificate to arrive. Then, in case of infringement, you've got proof of the originality and prior existence of your design.

    (BTW, I want one of those penguin shaped cocktail shakers. Maybe they ought to carry them at copyleft. "Consumers are aware of the reality that, almost invariably, even the most unusual of product designs--such as a cocktail shaker shaped like a penguin--is intended not to identify the source, but to render the product itself more useful or more appealing.")
  • by wnissen ( 59924 )
    Duh, of course books are protected by copyright! I don't know what I was smoking when I wrote that.

    So, we're safe as long as no one is able to get a patent on a color...

    Walt
  • Therefore, most democratic countries (at least all european ones) don't have elections for judges etcetera. The independance of the legal system is and should be highly valued, and the thought of judges or police chiefs etc. being influenced by electoral motives (thus bribable) is sickening and unbelievable.

  • Wasn't the Supreme Court decision about a design being trademarked, rather than patented?

    ... moreover, wasn't it about an unregistered 'trade dress' trademark? I don't know the US law on this matter, but the court's emphasis on 'unregistered' would seem to imply that 'trade dress' is registrable and can function as a trademark.

  • Not to nit pick (well not too much) but if you want to use the all-in-one idea for prior art then Apple beat them all to the punch with the Lisa or Mac 128k. Also one that looked more like the IMac or Compaq all in one would be the Mac LC 575.
  • What scares me about this ruling is the impact it might have against the little guy, it lessens the legal ramifications for the theft of good ideas. If a small company has something great and HUGEcorp has no legal impetus NOT to knock it off and put the little guys out of business, don't think HUGEcorp won't. The big guys would be protected by the ability of their pocketbook to raise a louder fuss. Which is almost what the ruling seems to ask them to do.

    Of all the doublethinking, twisted arguments... Man this takes the cake. Hello? Read the news lately? Read the ARTICLE? The judgement is precisely designed to make it harder for assholes to harass people. It's about keeping fuckers like Apple from suing when they have not in fact pushed a design. And they haven't. When they did their Mac is Power ads, no attempt to push the "design" was made. If it's so much authorship, why not?

    Sorry I don't buy it. Insert coin to play again.

  • you mean independent, small companies, and by 'people' you mean Wal-Mart

    Apple is an independent small company? Where the fuck... nevermind.

  • No it isn't. It is pure integration. And that design is precisely irrelevant to the product. Design is authorship in fashion because that is its purpose. The iMac's purpose is to kick ass on its technical and user interface (not eye candy) related merits.

    If you make a perfect tool, there is no way to
    contain the idea behind that tool.


    Nice try. There's a good reason for that. Products fall into four categories:
    1. Core
    2. Framework
    3. Interface
    4. Environment

    Are you telling me you'd haggle over the smallest brick when your product is many times larger?

  • I know it's flamebait, but what the heck...

    When I see an iMac dsign, I think of stupid people with too much money,

    Like the people who designed it and are now getting rich off it?

    calmering for the Next Big Thing That Will Save Apple but really only helps it put it other foot in the grave

    Forgot to by those AAPL shares at $18, didn't you.

    because any person with a clue buys a IBM PC and runs Windows or Linux or FreeBSD or BeOS

    Any person with a clue runs screaming from an IBM PC running Windows, IMHO.

    and does not become another sucker that paid too much for a dream of Steve Jobs,

    Yes, I greatly regret spending $1599 on an Apple computer 2.5 years ago. Of course, that very same computer is as fast and powerful as the vast majority of PCs available for sale right now, but that's beside the point, I suppose.

    whom is a tool of Bill Gates,

    Yup, that $150million that MrGates gave to Apple sure made a big splash in the $2Billion+ pool of cash Apple is sitting on at the moment. Yes, cash.

    which does not have enough software,

    Yes, it sucks only having 6 word processors to choose from.

    Remind me what software a real person needs that isn't available for Mac. I really haven't wanted anything I couldn't get for mine. Maybe you can enlighten me. Probably not, though.

    who users are too stupid to learn how use something with more power.

    You trying to tell me your "IBM PC running Windows" has more power? What a laugh.

    As for the "stupid" part. Well, I see stupid as being so afraid of Macs that you don't bother to know what you are talking about. Very much like any other prejudice.


    --

  • Define what it is that got copied? The colours? Been done. The monitor in the box? Been done. The mouse? Bad idea, probably been done but if so it was by an idiot... what I am saying is what is actually new in the iMac?

  • >Yeap, and the X window system stole it from gates. your point?

    I won't claim to be authoritative on this, although the discussion might just spurr me to go look it up, but I seem to remember that X has been around for 17 years, no?

    I do know, from personal experience, that when windows first came out, I was admining a lab that used dos (I installed windows on all the machines about a year later when it finally became stable enough for us to use) and I was also taking a C class, and my instructor in that class had an X workstation in her office...

    I'm therefore quite certain that X was around for quite awhile before the MS version of it came to be...
  • When the public sees an iMac-esque computer, what do they think of? Apple's iMacs, that's what. It's not that I feel Apple should be able to control who uses what cases, I just think that companies like eMachines that are blatently stealing Apple's designs... well, I think they're theives. Am I wrong?

    I think you are quite correct. Apple has spent enourmous funds in researching ergonomics and other less functional matters to develop this warm fuzzy design. I even like parts of it. The folks being sued in this case are copying things that Apple developed at their own expense, and yes I think there is something wrong there. But...

    How can you define what they did as wrong without creating a slippery slope that is going to wind up extending far beyond this case?

  • I want my PCjr w/ wireless keyboard. Its cooler than an Amiga!

    --
  • As fun as it would be to rub salt in your gaping macho wounds, I'll refrain. The secret answer is APPLE DOES HAVE A DESIGN PATENT FOR THE iMAC. It involves a black and white profile drawing. is Gnome the first GUI just for trolls? maybe not

    --
  • by blinko ( 97812 )
    Here's a shocker for you. Apple was far along on a GUI BEFORE they visited Xerox. A proof-of-concept field trip I might add they PAYED Xerox to make. There are some things to hate Apple for (bad customer service, not giving you what you want) but bogus history isn't one of them. It doesn't make you look good.

    --
  • The argument that a lot of people on /. are making against the Apple case is that since, The iMac is a mac, and the eMachine is a PC, they can't possibly be confused. For the average /. reader, sure! But think of who the iMac is marketed at: novice consumer type users. These people aren't necessarily going to look at the specs and say.. Oh this is a PC, so it can't possibly be the same. They'll be thinking: "Oh wow! Its one of those cool new transparent blue computer things I saw advertised! And in this shop, its even cheaper than that same one on tv!"

    The people who will buy these will buy it because they recognise the look, from the Apple advertising and hype. Clearly they are just freeloading off Apple's efforts, whether its a PC or not. These kind of people know its a 'computer' and that's it.
  • Armonk (AP) -- IBM CEO Lou Gerstner today expressed dismay at Microsoft Corporation's announcement that it would attempt to secure trademark protection on the color colloquially known as "BSOD Blue".

    Gerstner indignantly asserted that "BSOD Blue" was actually developed by top-level IBM engineers in the early 1980s for use in IBM's CGA (Color Graphics Adapter) display upgrade board.

    "'BSOD Blue' is nothing other than CGA BIOS color number 0x01," said Gerstner, in an inexplicable attempt to appear technically savvy by needlessly expressing the number "one" in hexadecimal.

    Although the CGA board has long been obsolete, its legacy is carried on in today's VGA (Video Graphics Array)-compatible boards, which produce the color when invoked in character-based "text mode". Text mode is currently used primarily for displaying boot diagnostics as well as error messages.

    Faced with the question of whether the "BSOD Blue" background color is actually still used for anything other than Windows error messages, Gerstner snorted, "Nonsense. I use the color everyday on my Volkswriter word processor. What is this "Windows" that everyone is getting all hot and bothered about anyway? If it's a graphical interface you want, I've got a scoop for you. IBM is hard at work developing a sophisticated next-generation object-oriented graphical operating system called OS/2 that will satisfy all your GUI needs."

    Gerstner expects a usable version of OS/2 to be released sometime in in the next eight years, with the first wave of applications arriving as soon as a decade afterwards.

    Gerstner added, "One more thing: Future releases of OS/2 will make exclusive use of this so-called "BSOD Blue" for error messages! Who says Microsoft has a monopoly on innovative technology?"
  • they will if it fails to work as advertised, and/or breaks.
  • And the fact that these are cheaper machines, made with shoddy parts, can be bad for even real imacs. Say what you want about the power or expandability of an imac, but it's got quality parts. If cheap pc ripoffs bring a "colorful case = piece of crap" mentality to the consumers, it's no good for apple.
  • "... rather than a general description for typewriters sold internationally."

    What's a typewriter?
  • Well, this was a great result for patent lawyers, but I am not sure it was a good result for product makers. The Supreme Court basically told companies like Apple that they have to go get design patents to cover themselves until they can gather evidence of secondary meaning. (That is, proof that consumers thought that the design of the product itself was an indication of origin.)

    Scalia wrote a law-and-economics opinion. I don't think the record below was replete with evidence of what the probability of a trade dress suit against a product design had been since the Two Pesos case, or what producers had been scared off from entering markets because of the Two Pesos case, or whether the suits had eventually been found to be meritless, or any of that. It was all what Scalia surmised was the situation.

    Neither was the decision based on what Congress thought it was doing in passing the law. The Supreme Court, 9-0, just decided it wanted to make it up as it went along.

    So companies like Apple have to apply for their design patents. Is "patent pending" going to be any less of a deterrant than the old trade dress suit threat? Or does it just force spending money. I think the latter would be true.

    Design patents take time to issue. If Apple had applied for one, it likely would not have issued before eMachines started to copy. Apple then could have tailored its design elements that were claimed to target the eMachines product. Is a patent issuing from ambush any less defined for a competitor than a trade dress? I don't think by very much.

    I guess the Supreme Court decided maybe it didn't like the Taco Cabana case, and wanted to limit it.

    Heaven only knows what the Supreme Court would do with web-site look-and-feel.

    (The Two Pesos v. Taco Cabana case said that trade dress could have inherent distincitiveness, and not need to prove that a trade dress had achieved source-identifying significance in consumers' minds. The case dealt with a lawsuit between a couple of Mexican restaurants in Texas, and the copying of a festive ethnic decorating scheme.)

  • The title is just wrong. The Supreme Court decision was on trade dress lawsuits, a variety of trademark law. Design patents are provided for under the patent laws. Actually, the decision will make design patents more valuable because it will provide a manufacturer 14 years to establish secondary meaning in a product design, as long as the design is not primarily the result of functional necessity.
  • If you post on slashdot because you prefer the way ./ looks to other online discussion forums then you are in danger of being enticed by other nice looking things.

    If you post here because you like what other people post, be it F1r57 p057, hot grits, Bruce Perens or whatever then whoever can imitate those may entice you.

    If you post here because this was the first one you found you may never leave except to post ./ is best *. is crap in all the newsgroups.


    .oO0Oo.
  • Looks like his dad had his way with him.

    or

    He was abducted by Aliens.

  • I may be wrong, but I belive that Compaq came out with a machine that had the moniter encapsulated just like the IMac, the most noteable change the Imac made to this design was to include a semitransparent cover. And remove the floppy drive. I forget the name, but it came out in 95 (?). Anybody got more info?

    Nate Custer
  • Not to nip pick a lot more, I was refering to the specific shape of the IMac, the very design it claimed as a trademark.

    Nate Custer

  • I just love how the government allows companies to get ripped off. I mean, come on, who doesn't think of the iMac when they see one of those translucent cases. When I first saw the Gateway Astro and eMachines computers, I thought that they were just misshapen iMacs. I hope Apple can find a way to stop this problem.
  • Perhaps you mean at the U.S. *federal* level. Here in Pennsylvania, state judges *are* elected. With all the usual problems you'd expect. Pick up a copy of the Philidelphia Enquirer any time pre-Election and you'll find plenty of editorials (rightly) railing against an elected judiciary.
  • no [slashdot.org]

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • "At war with China? Is not Taiwan part of China? The last part of China to resist the PRC?

    I was speaking to a predominantly american audiance, By China, I ment the PRC. The PRC is threatening war, and I'm not sure that it would be happening if not for the democratic elections. That was my point, that democracy may not always be the best thing for every one. I'm not sure about your use of the word 'democrat' in your post. And, I havn't been here all my life. I grew up in the United States.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • bogus history isn't one of them. It doesn't make you look good.

    Just because you would prefer to believe something else, doesn't make the history bogus. I've noticed that there are consistently two versions of this story:
    The one put forth by Apple zealots, and
    The one put forth by everyone else.

    It's a lot like the way christens fundamentalists view creationism, and just as intellectually honest.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • Apple started the user interface which Gates copied.

    no.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • Trademarks and Copyrights are completely different things (also, you can copy a book digitally quite easily). A trademark is basically like a 'name' or whatever. Literally, a mark that you associate with your trade. If you trademark the word "wnissen" used it to indicate computer services, it would suck for you if someone else called there company that. Additionally, if they provided crapy service, it would tarnish your name.

    Copyrights, on the other hand are different. A copyright is a protected piece of information, say like this post. I probably couldn't trademark this entire post, but I could copyright it. If you said these words yourself, it wouldn't tarnish my reputation (in fact it would lend me creditability as a commentator if people quoted me). On the other hand, if I tried to sell this document, I would loose money if you started reprinting it for free. The original idea behind copyrights (although, an idea perverted by corporate interests) is that I might not even bother to write something if I couldn't make any money off of it. It was a simple system to keep people creating, and making sure they got paid for it. Of course, nowadays, copyright extends 90 years after your death. I'm not sure I get the point of that (Other then to make publishers/media conglomerates more money). I don't really care how much money I make after I die.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • Two things about this:

    1) Wasn't the Supreme Court decision about a design being trademarked, rather than patented? These are two very different areas of IP law, intended to protect different sorts of stuff in different ways.

    Patents and copyrights (rightly or wrongly) are meant to give monopoly rights to innovations, so as to motivate innovation. (And in the case of patents, to motivate publicising the innovation.

    Trademark protection is intended to keep one business from pretending to be another business, and hurting reputation. For the design trademark protection, that means if a design is so distinctive as to be automatically identified as from a particular company, when in fact it's not, then that could be considered a trademark violation. Normally design trademarks are applied to product packaging rather than the product itself.

    The weird question this case brings up is: Does the test of distinctiveness automatically put smaller businesses at a disadvantage? How many people have to be able to recognize a design as being distinctively of some company, before that design is allowed as a trademark?

    But I can't see this having any effect on patent law.

  • Yeap, and the X window system stole it from gates. your point? Its like saying the honda car company should be shut down because a car was made in the 1890's and thats inherently distinctive.. please.. the entire world revolves around taking good ideas and making them better.. where would we be if we could patent rabies vaccination such that you could only get it from 1 hospital in switzerland? or, on a more abstract sense, the human genome project. how can you patent that? you can't patent humanity. Yet thats what the companies are trying to achieve. Competiton is good for society? :)
  • i think its pretty disrespectful to call them "microshaft" why do you resent them so much? isn't it ok to say "hey, i use linux, i'm not buying into the corporate BS, cool" and be cool with that? You are the kinda people i refer to as jehova's witnesses of computing.. you pick up the thing the media tells you to (linux is the media darling right now, after all..) and then you go and try to force your view on others. How has the computing industry been hurt by microsoft? by bringing computers to the masses? by creating a software which set off a home pc explosion in the 80's? Yeah, i'm still reelin from that one..
  • This isn't a big deal - all you gotta do is get a patent for your industrial look. The U.S. Patent Office gives out patents for anything nowadays.
  • I do think you are wrong. Just because people think of a mac when they see it doesn't mean that eMachines is stealing. They made a product which is similar, but very different. See that the eMachines is a PC and not a Mac. Thats a big difference. Apple can't keep all PC manufacturers from offering a similar product on a different platform. This is like all the other Apple "innovations" that they stole from others then tried to prevent their spread to the pc arena.
  • The difference in the hardware is relevant only in the fact that one is a pc and one is a mac. Apple cannot monopolize a design of a computer. If Dell made the iDell first and gateway came out with the iGateway that looked "deceptively" similar no one would really care. This is certainly Apple just getting pissy because this was their last ditch effort to get market share and when others realize a good idea they copy. I wasn't refering to the iMac being a "borrowed" design, but if everyone remembers the GUI and mouse that they tried to prevent MSFT from using. They didn't really invent either of those two things. They got them elsewhere and whined when others followed.
  • If that's the case, then, Apple should be paying royalties to aquarium manufacturers.

    Pfft.

    --
  • Heh heh.

    I use BSOD blue for my Xemacs background, because it reminds me of the Borland IDE I grew up with 10 years ago.

    The nice effect is that it wards off windows users, sort of like those smoking bug-repellants you buy for the backyard

    --
  • It's basically impossible, having seen an iMac once, to think of anything else when you see it.

    I think of a VT220 whenever I see an iMac. Every time. Have you never seen one?

    I used to use a VT220 with a 9600 baud modem to read Usenet at work. :-)

    New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

    /bin/tcsh: Try it; you'll like it.

  • So which do you mean by elsehwere?
    a) The Master's thesis of Jeff Raskin, one of the mac engineers?
    b) the GUI of the Lisa as it existed before the visit to PARC ?

    And I believe that this is the first I *ever* heard of any attempt to stop anyone else from using mice.
  • 1) Raskin described quickdraw, among other things, in his Master's thesis before that (late 60's?)
    2) The link for the early (pre-PARC) Lisa interface is
  • oops :)

    I tried to turn it into a link. Here it is in text . . .

    http://home.san.rr.com/deans/lisagui.html

    I really don't know how to slap a link tag; I shouldn't have tried . . .
  • The founders never intended a "democracy". At the time, it was a dirty word, associated with mob rule. Some Whigs (or was it a last gasp of the Federalists?) called the Rebpublicans "a bunch of democrats", and the Republicans added it to their name, eventually dropping "Republican." After the Whigs died off, a new party started with Republican again.

    Anyway, the system was designed with checks against democracy, and we've tossed some of them. Alexander Hamilton wanted the President to serve during "good behavior" (for life). THen again, he was a borderline monarchist . . .

    The long, overlapping terms of the Senate were a safeguard against democracy. Of perhaps more importance was that the Senate was not directly elected, but instead chosen by state legislatures, yielding another buffer. IM!HO, moving to direct election of Senators is the worst mistake in the history of the Republic.

    Representative government was not chosen as an end in itself, but as the most likely way to keep our liberties secure. Had they thought our liberties would be more secure under monarchy, they would have crowned Washington (over his objections [If he'd wanted to be king, he would have been]). Since he died childless, it's hard to predict what would have happened next.

    I have a very simple position on democracy: I'm against it. But I strongly support representative goverment, preferably with a layer or two of indirection. And I'll take arms against a government that comes for our liberties.

    hawk, esq.
  • Here's my distillation of the story as drawn from last summer's reading: _Infinite Loop_ which is about Apple, and _Dealers of Lightning_ which is about PARC.

    In the early-mid 70's Jef Raskin started hanging out at PARC and saw the early work on their projects there (the Alto, Smalltalk, etc.)

    In '77 he joined up at Apple, and in '79 Apple management had a plan for three computers: The Apple III, which would be the immediate successor to the Apple II; The Lisa, which would be so awesome as to not only dominate the microcomputer market but start making inroads into minicomputers; and Annie, which would be what we would now think of as a gaming console.

    Annie was handed off to Raskin, but he counter-proposed a significant departure from traditional computing and which was basically the origin of the Macintosh. But then he ended up on the Lisa project. He took the Lisa team on a tour of PARC which strongly influenced that project to go the GUI route. This was at about the time of the Apple IPO.

    But before that, Xerox was permitted to invest in the company pre-IPO, for some undefined technology among other things. This ended up being the basis for the Apple tours.

    Raskin and Jobs got along like Bill Gates and the DOJ, and when Jobs started messing around with the Lisa project (Jobs is pretty certainly one of the worst bosses in history, and I'm a big Apple fan which tells you a lot!) Raskin ended up on a very isolated Macintosh team that he more or less started and tried to keep away from Jobs' negative influence.

    Eventually though, Raskin set up Jobs to see PARC (which he and the Woz had both been disinterested in before), so as to give him a better idea of what he was trying to do. (hint: it wasn't much like how the Mac turned out)

    Some of the people at PARC weren't dumb, and they knew that they were giving away the keys to the castle, but they had orders from up on high.

    This tour even more thoroughly cemented how the Lisa would be, and as it started lurching towards failure just like the Apple III (The Lisa cost $10,000 in 1983, although it was very nice in a lot of ways) Jobs jumped ship to the Mac, and booted Raskin out.

    Jobs never really understood the stuff from PARC though. This is most telling in the way that he adamantly refused to provide for networking on the Mac, eventhough networks were a staple at PARC. And how Apple almost ignored the Laser Printer and DTP until a couple of smart guys at Apple, Aldus and Adobe rammed it down their throats, incidentally saving the Mac and Apple.

    So to sum up:
    Xerox came up with a lot; Apple never implemented half of it; Apple did pay for it; anyway, the Alto was a significantly different sort of machine than the Mac. More like an underpowered minicomputer than an underpowered microcomputer ;)

  • After reading the decision, I think Samara would have had a better case if they had included some sort of distinctive mark on their clothes, like the little alligator that is on some men's shirts. Something the consumer could recognize and competitors couldn't legally copy.

    I think OshKosh B'Gosh ran into similar problems with people ripping off their designs for children's clothes when they were fashionable and in great demand.

    Even though they won, I still think Wal-Mart is sleazy for blatantly ripping off Samara's designs. There is a difference between copying a design idea and sending photographs to a manufacturer with instructions to replicate the clothes. When Ford introduced the Taurus, many other car companies borrowed elements of the body design without making exact duplicates of the Taurus.

  • > Sure, democratic governments may have been an ideal that the founding fathers believed in, but that doesn?t really mean it?s a good thing.

    Democracy originated in ancient Athens, and if Athens under the democracy didn't match the definition of "Evil Empire", then nothing does.

    Voters can be every bit as tyrannical as tyrants of of the ordinary sort.

    --
  • by Foogle ( 35117 )
    No, Apple didn't steal it; The iMac is a rather innovative design for the consumer-market personal computer. Companies like eMachines aren't just making a product that's similar -- they're making a product that is deceptively similar. It looks like an iMac. It feels like an iMac. It's $300 cheaper. Oh, and it has shoddy parts too, but that's another issue. The real point is that it's not an iMac, but eMachines is hoping that consumers won't know the difference, because they really weren't paying all that much attention to the commercial in the first place: they just remember Jeff Goldblum's voiceovers.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • At some point, design, industrial or graphic or UI or whatever, becomes as distinctive as a story or movie or song. If we can protect one form of creativity, why not the other?

    Does this open the (heavily extrapolated) gateways for the "legalization" of sampling in music?

    What scares me about this ruling is the impact it might have against the little guy, it lessens the legal ramifications for the theft of good ideas. If a small company has something great and HUGEcorp has no legal impetus NOT to knock it off and put the little guys out of business, don't think HUGEcorp won't. The big guys would be protected by the ability of their pocketbook to raise a louder fuss. Which is almost what the ruling seems to ask them to do.

    One of the ironies of great industrial design is the complete invisibility of it. If you make a perfect tool, there is no way to contain the idea behind that tool. People all over the world know the classing Honeywell round Thermostat, but who designed it?*

    * Henry Dreyfuss, who also designed two of the most recognizable and iconocized telephones, and a bunch of other things you already know but might never have thought about. http://www.si.edu/ndm/exhib/hd/start.htm [si.edu]
  • This is entirely correct -- the case did not weaken or strengthen design patents at all. It is about product configuration and commercial design cases.

    On the other hand, the standard for reviewing infringement of a design patent is far less "holistic" and fuzzy than that for an alleged product configuration case. To that end, the case likely had a major impact on Apple's claim.
  • So saith the Supreme Court. That is the message of this case.

    I don't see how this decision could be used to thwart Apple's attempts to protect the iMac design and "look" by design patent.

    It limits the scope of their protection to the scope of the design patent.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but when the iMac was first released, it was truly an original and unique design -- older "designer" computers (such as the Acer Aspire series) notwithstanding. When you saw translucent white-and-fruity-colored-plastic, you thought "iMac".

    Agreed it is a unique design. It probably is entitled to design patent protection. But that does not give rise to trade dress protection unless and until someone sees an e-Machines machine and says, "gee, that must have come from Apple."

    When the first peripherals started coming out that mimicked the iMac design, they were immediately recognizeable as having done so.

    But did anyone think they were MADE by Apple? That is what is meant by distinctive for these purposes.

    In fact, many (most?) of them were aggressively marketed as "for the iMac", in a blatant attempt to capitalize on the iMac's runaway success. I don't suppose Apple had any problems with these peripherals, since they indirectly promoted the iMac and its original design.

    Clearly. But does that mean the design was a designation of SOURCE? That is the factual question that is now raised. It is no longer a question of inherent distinctiveness, but rather than acquired distinctiveness.

    Therefore, I believe that in light of this ruling, Apple should in fairness be allowed to obtain patent protection for its design.

    They either have them or they don't. Point is that the design patent for the computer probably doesn't stretch to other uses of a similarly designed, but differently shaped machine.

    1. I do not necessarily agree that the ruling is "right" and that Apple really should be allowed to obtain protection for its design.

    The Supreme Court is not final because it is infallible. It is, however, infallible because it is final. Correct or not, that is the law of this land, unless and until the Congress changes its views.

  • companies like eMachines that are blatently stealing Apple's designs... well, I think they're theives. Am I wrong?

    They're as much a thief as generic clothing manufacturers and beige case makers (there was someone who originated the beige case, afterall).
  • And let's face it. The first place that tries to copy Slashdot in a non parody form will die a horrible death.

    Excuse me? Several sites are "copying" /. already, and in a "non parody form". Go over and look at Gnome's news site, or several other sites that are using the Slash code. IIRC, at one time Rob had a list of all the sites using Slash (if you are reading this Cmdr Taco, you ought to put that up as a Slashbox).
  • Interestingly, the title of this story is at odds with its contents. It could impact Apple's case against eMachines, but only if Apple didn't have a design patent on the iMac. Unlike utility patents, which cover everything from engines to (ick) once-click shopping, design patents allow protection of the appearance or design of an object, but not its function. Ergo, a "practical" innovation like 3-point seat belts may receive a utility patent, but the distinctive shape of a VW Beetle might be covered by a design patent.
  • A trademarked color would fall under the same restrictions as any other trademark. Dell can't use IBM blue without violating IBM's trademark, but I could open a grocery store that was painted that color because IBM isn't in that business; their trademark does not extend to food stores.

    I suppose it would be up to the USPTO do determine whether two similar trademarks could exist in the field; for example, a Macrosoft has been producing software since 1987.

    The difference between a color and a book is that the book falls under copyright. The trademarked color is disclosed to the government and is made public knowledge, much like a patent would be. However, any witten material automatically is protected by copyright, without the need for registration. You could feasibly publish (and take credit for) a summary or interpretation of a copyrighted work if it was in your own words, but if it was simply a copy, you would have violated the original owner's copyright. This is how the IBM PC BIOS was legally reverse-engineered and published for profit in the early 1980's.
  • Let us consider the following items Apple, Amazon, and Slashdot.

    Now let's face it. Regardless of patent issues, it seems more and more retailers [urbanfetch.com] have simply copied Amazon.com's site [amazon.com] in it's entirety. That somehow strikes me as unfair.

    Now let's consider Apple. I'm not going to go through the sortid history of who stole what from whom but let's simply say that by the time Windows 95 came out, many of us had seen that desktop a few times before. As for the Mac cases, it's not like many of us haven't been hunting for a cool case [a-top.com] for awhile. The only difference is that we want a floppy drive and don't want a new monitor every time we upgrade.

    And let's face it. The first place that tries to copy Slashdot in a non parody form will die a horrible death.

    So why this claim? Apparently the United States Supreme Court might agree with Slashdotters in an appropriate case. " Please, don't presume to speak for me.

    Look is look. MTV is MTV. Mountain Dew and Jolt are a way of life, other caffine is just imitation.

    And in a hype marketing world, I'm tired of cheap knock offs.

    - Ken Boucher http://www.virtualsurreality.com [virtualsurreality.com]

    -----

  • I was recently contacted by Apple Computer, Inc. over my apparent attempt to patent something that they are currently claiming the pattent on. the letter is as follows.

    Mr. Rad
    It has come to Apple Computer, Inc.'s attention that you have applied for a design patent for the design of one "Steaming Pile of ugly Poo." (heretofore referred to as "SPoo"). We wish to inform you Mr. Rad that, upon review of this design, we have noticed an incredible amount of similarities between "Spoo" and the iMac. Being that the iMac looks so similar to a "Steaming Pile of Ugly Poo" you may consider this a notice to cease and desist in your attempts to market/patent your "SPoo"...


    The letter continues but you get the gist of it. This is a call to my fellow slashdotters. I need your help to resist big business and it's attempts to supress my patents. Please...send money! Lots of money.


    -FluX
    -------------------------
    Your Ad Here!
    -------------------------
  • That's an interesting point. I'm not sure the companies really want to be able to lock people up that don't work as hard as they should, they just want to lock people up who threaten their control. Jon Johnson would be a pretty example.

    That said, I don't think that the people running these corporations really even knows the irrevocable harm there causing, no one considered evil ever really was. Hitler and Stalin thought they were doing the right thing, both morally and ethically. Hitler thought that he was saving the human genetic pool, and Stalin; well I think Stalin was just crazy. (And forgive me for invoking Godwin's law, in no way do I think what these corps are doing, now, is anywhere near what those two had done)

    But in a way, the people in these organizations are even worse, unlike Hitler and Stalin, who had a clear view of what they were doing, the corporate insiders do not. Despite what they might think, they are just cogs in a machine -- a stealthy ethereal artificial intelligence. Wintermute incarnate (though, not so obvious). The corporation is its own device, seeking its own ends. An organism with mind power of thousands of humans, but with a thought structure completely outside our understanding. Evolving, into something. And I wonder, if with computer interconnectedness becoming the norm if these organisms are becoming faster of mind (Using technology bill gates himself calls the "Digital Nervous System")

    Well, I've got a lot more ideas on that (most of them are being formed right now), but I don't want to get all Jon Katz, so I'll try to get to the point. That these organism, these corporations are subverting the democratic ideal. Perhaps it was a system that might have worked for an industrial (and book educated, as opposed to an agrarian society) society, but we do not live in that society. We live in a media society. A world where our ideas, or at least the ideas of the majority, are controlled by the media conglomerates. And those media conglomerates can say whatever they want. We need a new system of government that preserves individual rights in this new pervasive-information society. Will it be some kind of democracy? Probably, maybe not. Note that the pervasive-information society is not the internet-global knowledge-utopia that many slashdot readers believe may exist, but the Media controlled Cyber worlds Envisioned by Gibson (and, in a way, Orwell). The one that IS happening. And by happening, I don't mean that 'will happen'.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @07:50PM (#1174210) Homepage
    People here on Slashdot are clamoring about "Colored plastic isn't new!" as if that's what the whole Apple/eMachines case were even about. Of course colored plastic isn't new, and that's now what Apple's complaining about.

    Look, the iMac is certainly a unique design. It's basically impossible, having seen an iMac once, to think of anything else when you see it. And the eMachines clone looks exactly like an iMac. OK, so there's one more slot for a certain archaic, outdated storage device. But other than that they're identical, right down to the ventilation slots and handle; eMachines couldn't have been more brasen if they'd kept the Apple logo on the casing. This was clearly meant to confuse the consumer.

    Look, there's nothing wrong with cool-looking cases. There's even nothing wrong with cool-looking cases made of translucent plastic. But for crying out loud, it's not that hard to come up with your own design. The iMac design is clearly identifiaed in the consumer's mind with one make and model of computer alone: the Apple iMac. Look at any popular-media depiction of a computer with that shape, and you'll find direct references to that machine (cases in point: UserFriendly's iWhack and FoxTrot's iFruity).

    I'm not an Apple apologist; I don't defend them when they do stupid stuff. But I believe they're right to sue for this issue; this is even more blatant of a ripoff than Windows ever was. Microsoft at least made their stuff different enough that they weren't really stealing the Apple interface, but this is completely different.
  • by Foogle ( 35117 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @06:30PM (#1174211) Homepage
    When the public sees an iMac-esque computer, what do they think of? Apple's iMacs, that's what. It's not that I feel Apple should be able to control who uses what cases, I just think that companies like eMachines that are blatently stealing Apple's designs... well, I think they're theives. Am I wrong?

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • by wnissen ( 59924 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @06:47PM (#1174212)
    One thing I have always found interesting is that particularly distinctive colors can be trademarked. Coincidentally, IBM Blue is trademarked, as is Tiffany's Blue. The apparent rationale for this is that certain colors are so well-known and associated with a brand, it would be inherently confusing to allow them to be used by others. What I want to know is, how do you determine when a color is confusingly similar? This seems to be very subjective.

    To get back on topic a bit, it's obvious from seeing a color how to imitate it, and it's almost as easy to imitate a design once you've seen it. But isn't it also quite easy to imitate a book? I agree, you couldn't reconstruct a book from memory the way you could reconstruct a piece of clothing or a color you saw in a store, but the potential is still there. So, what's the difference between the color and the book?

    Walt
  • by Swami ( 84553 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @08:31PM (#1174213) Homepage
    Interesting spin the Wal-Mart vs. Samara case.

    Hemos and many other commenters read this
    decision and seem stuck on an analogy between
    this case and the "Apple vs eMachines" spat.

    But as I began reading Scalia's decision myself,
    a different analogy kept popping into my mind.

    Samara started marketing an /innovative/ new
    product, "seersucker" clothes. Along comes
    the big evil corporation, Wal-Mart, which
    embraces and extends the "seersucker" concept
    "with only minor modifications," then uses
    predatory pricing practices to effectively
    undermine Samara's innovation and stealing
    it for their own profiteering.

    Microsoft vs. (pick-your-favorite-victim)
    seems to be at least as analogous to this
    case as Apple vs. eMachines.
  • by Spire ( 101081 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @07:00PM (#1174214)

    I don't see how this decision could be used to thwart Apple's attempts to protect the iMac design and "look" by design patent.

    According to the decision, product design cannot obtain protection unless it has "acquired distinctiveness such that the marketplace naturally perceives the design to be a designation of product source".

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but when the iMac was first released, it was truly an original and unique design -- older "designer" computers (such as the Acer Aspire series) notwithstanding. When you saw translucent white-and-fruity-colored-plastic, you thought "iMac".

    When the first peripherals started coming out that mimicked the iMac design, they were immediately recognizeable as having done so. In fact, many (most?) of them were aggressively marketed as "for the iMac", in a blatant attempt to capitalize on the iMac's runaway success. I don't suppose Apple had any problems with these peripherals, since they indirectly promoted the iMac and its original design.

    When the iMac look-alike computers started coming out, Apple began to have a problem. Apple did not want its original design to be used to manufacture and market products that directly compete against Apple's own products. And I tend to agree; by this point, the design had already been established in the minds of the people as being "iMac". I believe that this satisfies the above-stated requirement that the product have "acquired distinctiveness" so that it may obtain protection.

    Therefore, I believe that in light of this ruling, Apple should in fairness be allowed to obtain patent protection for its design.

    Disclaimers:

    1. I do not necessarily agree that the ruling is "right" and that Apple really should be allowed to obtain protection for its design. I am merely asserting that according to the ruling, Apple is probably entitled to this protection.
    2. I loathe the iMac and much of what it stands for -- especially that fruity design (not to mention that ridiculous mouse). It never ceases to amaze me when tech people that I normally respect tell me that they actually want an iMac "because it's so cute!". Ugh.
  • by elegant7x ( 142766 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @07:11PM (#1174215)
    Out of all of the branches of the US government, the only one that really doesn?t seem to suck is the Supreme Court. And, I think the reason is obvious. It's not a democratic system. The justices are appointed, for life. Sure, politicians appoint them, but there is a key difference. They can do what they think is right, not what they think will get them the most votes.

    Sure, democratic governments may have been an ideal that the founding fathers believed in, but that doesn?t really mean it?s a good thing. Just look at Taiwan, 4 years of democracy, and were practically at war with fucking china. Way to go guys! That said, I don't want Taiwan to be sucked into Communist china, but I don't want to be at war with them ether.

    Perhaps its time to rethink the system, I don't know what to replace it with, but a review may be in order. (Perhaps electing government people for a long term, with no chance of reelection, with a special recall vote if necessary)

    Look at all the stuff that's happening in the US, and the rest of the world, moving it to an Orwillian nightmare; it isn't being stopped, because most people just don't care.

    Not that I have a solution or anything, but that doesn?t mean I can't complain.

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @07:10PM (#1174216)
    Redmond (AP) -- Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer announced the company will still be enforcing its trademark on the color coloquially known as "BSOD Blue". When questioned about the recent landmark decision Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Brothers, Inc., Balmer said: "Microsoft firmly believes that this shade of blue, consistent with QUALITEX CO. v. JACOBSON PRODUCTS CO. [findlaw.com], has acquired 'a secondary meaning' which 'serves no other purpose' and is therefore a permissable trademark under the Lanham act. After all, what purpose could this blue serve other than to identify a computer as running Windows? Surely it is not to inform the user that his computer has crashed when crashing is implicit in the very notion of running Windows".

    No immediate lawsuits have been filed, but the suspected potential respondents are believed to be undergoing puberty somewhere in Scandinavia.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

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