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Comment Main Claims in the Patent (Score 1) 265

1. A computer-implemented method, comprising: receiving and storing personal data of a first user of a computer-based service, said computer-based service accessible to users over a network, said personal data specified by the first user; providing a user interface for users to establish contact relationships with other users of the service such that each user can have one or more contacts, said user interface enabling a user to identify other users of the service, and to selectively initiate the generation of requests to establish contact relationships with the identified users; receiving a request from a second user of the service to establish a contact relationship with the first user, said request submitted to the service over a network via said user interface; sending a notification of the request to the first user over a network; providing an option, in connection with said request, for the first user to grant permission for the second user to view at least some of the personal data of the first user; and in response to the first user granting said permission, providing the second user access to at least some of the personal data of the first user via a contact information user interface of the service, such that the second user is provided access to data that would not otherwise be accessible to the second user via the service; wherein the method, including receiving and storing the personal data, providing the user interface, receiving the request, sending the notification, providing said option, and providing the second user access, is performed by a server computer system.

13. A computer system that provides a service to users over a network, said computer system comprising a processor and a memory, an being programmed, via executable program instructions, to perform a method that comprises: receiving and storing personal data of a first user of the service, said personal data specified by the first user; providing a user interface for users to establish contact relationships with other users of the service such that each user can have one or more contacts, said user interface enabling a user to identify other users of the service, and to selectively initiate generation of requests to establish contact relationships with the identified users; receiving a request from a second user of the service to establish a contact relationship with the first user, said request submitted to the service over a network via said user interface; sending a notification of the request to the first user over a network; providing an option, in connection with said contact relationship, for the first user to grant permission for the second user to view at least some of the personal data of the first user; and in response to the first user granting said permission, providing the second user access to at least some of the personal data of the first user via a contact information user interface of the service, such that the second user is provided access to data that would not otherwise be accessible to the second user via the service.

Comment Prior Art Cited in the Patent (Score 1) 265

Wellman (For A Social Network Analysis of Computer Networks), Jan. 1996, ACM, pp. 1-11. cited by examiner .
Kautz et al (ReferralWeb: Combining Social Networks and Collaborating Filtering), Mar. 1997, Communication of the ACM, vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 1-4. cited by examiner .
"1997 Edition GS Lotus Organizer/Exploring Organizer/Windows 95 edition," pp. iii-vii and 8-1-8-6. cited by other .
"Applications Handbook For the Palm III .TM.Organizer," 3Com, pp. iii-v, and 1-12 (Apr. 1998). cited by other .
"Symantec ACT! User's Guide and Reference, Version 2.0 For Windows," pp. ix-xvi and 3-11-3-26. cited by other .
"Information about Lotus Notes from the Lotus Web Site (www.Lotus.com), " pp. 1-13 (Apr. 1998). cited by other .
"Domino 4.6 Features Overview," Jul. 1997, 2 pages, www.lotus.com/domino. cited by other .
"Yahoo! White Pages," Copyright 1994-1998, Yahoo!, http://www.yahoo.com/. cited by other .
"WhoWhere?," Copyright 1995-1998, Who/Where? Inc., http://www.whowhere.com/. cited by other .
R. Tamura, et al., "Lotus Notes 4," pp. 39, 64-65, and 176 (1996). cited by other .
Cardwell, "Cyberscene Planet Keeps You in Touch," Dec. 1996, Boston Herald Boston. cited by other .
Day, "New Software Tracks Corporate Travel Plans," Jan. 1991, Denver Post (Denver, CO,US), V99 N153 sC p2, Dialog File 63 Accession No. 0187621. cited by other .
Wetzel, "Municipally-owned venues feel brunt of city budget cuts," Aug. 1991, Amusement Business, v103, n31, p3(3), Dialog File 148, Accession No. 05427255. cited by other .
"Should manufacturers try to establish rapport with their agents' other principals," Mar. 1995, Agency Sales Magazine v25n3, pp. 13-15, Dialog File 15, Accession No. 00988855. cited by other .
Smith, "Companies Meet Each Other at the Airport," Jul. 1995, The Los Angeles Times, ISSN: 04583035. cited by other .
Gerety, "Whose Job Is It Anyway?; Meetings As a Subset of Travel: Yes or No?," Apr. 1992, Business Travel News, ISSN: 8750-3670. cited by other .
Brisson, et al., "Lifeco Puts Pre-Trip Control in Travel Managers' Hands," Mar. 1991, Business Travel News, ISSN: 8750-3670. cited by other .
"PlanetAll plans to Make a World of Difference in Busy Lives," Nov. 1996, PR Newswire, pp. 1113NEW025. cited by other .
"Fall Internet World '96 Exhibitor Previews," Dec. 3, 1996, Business Wire, p. 12030220, Dialog File 16, Accession No. 04716024. cited by other .
Answer and Second Amended Counterclaims of Defendant Amazon.com, Inc. in Cordance Corporation v. Amazon.com, Inc. (C.A. No. 06-491-MPT). cited by other.

Comment SOLO wins on Summary Judgment (Score 2, Informative) 193

In more recent developments, Solo is granted summary judgment. BNet's cited blog post must have missed it.

http://www.williamsmullen.com/rocketdocketiplit/blog.aspx?topic=63&All=null&IsListParentTopic=true
"Last week, in a case it described as one of "practically first impression," the Eastern District of Virginia granted summary judgment in favor of Solo Cup Co. that it was not liable for improper patent marking under 35 U.S.C. 292(a). Pequignot v. Solo Cup Co., No 1:07cv897-LMB/TCB (E.D. Va. July 2, 2009). The Court agreed with Solo that the advice of counsel it received to replace patent-marking molds with non-marking molds in a gradual fashion was reasonable. Solo's overall conduct was held to evidence a lack of intent to deceive the public. The Court also held that an "offense" under the statute is the overall decision to mark improperly, thereby rejecting Pequignot's argument that Solo should be penalized for each and every lid it marked."

"Solo also prevailed on summary judgment with respect to its fallback position, namely, that even if there were intent to deceive the public, the offenses punishable under the statute are the decisions to mark improperly, not each and every marking of a product. Thus, in an alternative holding, the Court decided that the maximum amount of damages for which Solo could be liable is $1500."

And in a recent article by Law Professor Thomas Field, http://www.ipfrontline.com/printtemplate.asp?id=24082
"The opinion in Pequignot v. Solo Cup Co., 646 F.Supp.2d 790 (E.D. Va. 2009) (Pequignot III), a case resolved last August, and now on appeal, signals a very different, perhaps more typical view of those who seek to recover under section 292(b). There, the court grants summary judgment for Solo because it was unable to find deceptive intent."

Comment Nicely Written Brief (Score 5, Interesting) 525

I especially like this side note:
"For additional absurdity, imagine further that the Industry actually got
judgments of $18 million in damages from roughly 30,000 teenagers, which is
approximately the number of lawsuits they filed against consumers until the end of 2008.
That would mean they had outstanding judgments for $540 billion dollars - or more than
the total revenue the recording industry can expect to earn in about 50 years at its current
size of $11 billion per year."

And yet, in view of so many incomprehensible RIAA decisions to date, it's hard to be hopeful.

Comment A true Calvin Story (Score 5, Interesting) 327

I used to read the strip, and being a newly minted patent attorney, appreciated all the great b.s. that his dad in the strip would just make up. "What a great kid!" I would think while reading Calvin's adventures and inventions, "I'd love to have a kid like that!" So my second son is named "Calvin." And by cracky, he was JUST like the comic kid, in looks and temperment! How lucky could I have gotten? Then, in something like 1990, every comic strip in the paper on December 3 (my birthday) had a birthday theme! WFT? It was uncanny; obviously somebody involved in comics had a birthday conspiracy. Well, every strip except one. Calvin and Hobbes did not relate at all to birthdays, but it contained the biggest present, as it was the strip which made it clear that Calvin's dad was, in fact, a patent attorney! In the strip, his dad is reading some sort of pleading or opinion regarding patent infringement.

As it turns out, I understand Watterson's dad was and still is (?) a patent attorney, and many of the stories in the strip were based on his own childhood.

My Calvin is now 21 years, so as much as I love the comic, I at least have the certainty of knowing how Calvin turned out. He's OK!

Comment Re:Marshall, TX (Score 2, Informative) 227

The CAFC (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) is apparantly getting a bit fed up with the EDTX Court. In In Re Hoffman-Laroche (http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/opinions/09-M911.pdf), they slapped them around for not transferring the case to a District (EDNC) which actually had a "meaningful local interest" in the dispute. Here's a quote which hints at their annoyance (plus the fact that it's kind of a slap in the face to highlight a spelling/grammar error when quoting from a lower Court's opinion).

The Eastern District of North Carolina's interest in this matter is self-evident. Meanwhile, it is undisputed that this case has no relevant factual connection to the Eastern District of Texas. The district court ignored this significant contrast, reasoning that "where a number of private interest factors weigh heavily in one direction, that venue has a slightly greater local interest," but "[w]here, however, the factors do not weigh heavily in one direction of [sic] the other, no one venue has more or less a meaningful connection to the case than any other." By relying exclusively on how other forum non conveniens factors weigh, rather than assessing the locale's connection to the cause of action, the district court essentially rendered this factor meaningless. Therefore, because the Eastern District of North Carolina has a meaningful local interest in adjudicating the dispute and no meaningful connection exists with the Eastern District of Texas, this factor also favors transfer.

        and this one

Meanwhile, there appears to be no connection between this case and the Eastern District of Texas except that in anticipation of this litigation, Novartis' counsel in California converted into electronic format 75,000 pages of documents demonstrating conception and reduction to practice and transferred them to the offices of its litigation counsel in Texas. But, if not for this litigation, it appears that the documents would have remained a source of proof in California. Thus, the assertion that these documents are "Texas" documents is a fiction which appears to be have been created to manipulate the propriety of venue.
This type of tactic was clearly counseled against in Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612 (1964). There, the Supreme Court explained that Section 1404(a) "should be construed to prevent parties who are opposed to a change of venue from defeating a transfer which, but for their own deliberate acts or omissions, would be proper, convenient and just." Id. at 625. A plaintiff's attempts to manipulate venue in anticipation of litigation or a motion to transfer falls squarely within these prohibited activities. The district court's contrary position here has no legally rational basis and prevents 1404(a) from carrying "out its design to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense.

Add to this decision (handed down 12/2), the even more recent decision H-P v. Acceleron (12/4, Fed. Cir.) which makes it easier to file for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement (in your choice of Court) if you are -ahem- "threatened" by a patent troll, and it seems that the Fed Circuit it trying rein in what may be considered a rogue court. Note that these decisions don't really concern EDTX's disposition of the cases, but the question "WTF is this case doing in Marshall, Texas?"

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 291

I've had cause to use some iron (not nearly that big, but a 100+ node HADOOP cluster and the aforementioned 16 core video remixer) at work myself. But the GP was using that as a reference for a modern pc for use in displaying a browser, and it is completely inappropriate to assume that the average high end user is going to have a $10000-$20000 machine sitting on their desk.

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