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Patents

Best Approach To Keeping a Virtual World Protocol Free to All? 163

arkowitz writes "I invented a protocol called CICP for interacting with virtual worlds, and filed a provisional patent application on it March 20 of last year. I have since declared the protocol open and public, and contributed an implementation of it to the Sun Wonderland project, which is GPL; and made public the LSL code and accompanying Java servlet for the Second Life implementation of the protocol. I've been collaborating with a fellow in Finland named Tommi S. E. Laukkanen on a new protocol called MXP: Metaverse Exchange Protocol (here's a full description at cybertechnews.com). MXP is and will always be public domain; we intend it to enable an open and ubiquitous metaverse. My question is this: is there any reason to complete the patent app for CICP, which could potentially cover MXP as well, and release it to the public domain? The full app is due by March 20 and the legal work would probably cost my company $10k. Would finishing the patent protect the open and public protocols from patent trolls, or would it be a waste of money? Also, what kind of document would I need to make official the public-domaining of the app?"
Communications

Scientists "Teleport" Quantum Information One Meter 107

the4thdimension writes "While we may not be beaming up to the Enterprise anytime soon, a team of scientists from the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan have managed to teleport information between two atoms up to a meter apart. Until this point, only very tiny distances were able to be traveled. However, using a complicated system of photons, ions, lasers, and electromagnetics, scientists have managed to 'teleport' information contained on one atom to another atom that is in a separate sealed container. This can lead to a wide range of developments in computing and communications." Update: 01/29 22:29 GMT by T : Sorry, it's a dupe, but today's article in Time is better reading than the abstract anyhow.
Image

Goat Detained In Armed Robbery 21

Nigerian police are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery. "The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," said Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed. He should have turned into a car and drove away.
Games

Smash Bros. Creators Behind New TMNT Game 29

The Opposable Thumbs blog reports that work is underway on a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the Wii. They note that "Game Arts, the developer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, will be creating the four-player action title for Ubisoft." According to the press release, the game is set to launch in late 2009 to celebrate 25 years of the TMNT franchise. The game won't be tied to any particular movie or TV series.
Music

Guitar Hero: Metallica Setlist Released 82

An anonymous reader writes "Metallica has announced the setlist for their upcoming Guitar Hero game. They have a wide variety of songs from their different albums. There are 28 Metallica songs and 21 from other artists. They have also confirmed the release date of March 29th. The list includes Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, One, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Fans who pre-order the game will have an opportunity to get an extra bass drum pedal to keep up with Lars Ulrich's beats."
Games

An Inside Look At Tabula Rasa's Failure 44

Massively notes a couple of posts from people who worked at NCSoft while Tabula Rasa was in development. Adam Martin says the lengthy, wandering development cycle led management to push it through before it was ready. "Very late, they eventually hit upon a good formula, a good core game," but, "Before they could actually make that game, a difficult decision was taken to push the team to the wall and force an early beta test." Scott Jennings suggests that early warning signs, like the tepid reaction to the beta, were largely ignored. "One of the mantras that went around production discussions after Auto Assault's launch square into the pavement was that if you can't get people to play the beta for free, you have serious, serious issues. Tabula Rasa had those issues. Not as bad as Auto Assault — there were people doggedly playing every night and presumably enjoying themselves, and metrics were duly assembled to measure every movement those testers took. But it was pretty clear, at least from my completely disassociated and busy with my own thing viewpoint, that there wasn't a lot of excitement."
Patents

Gaming Patents From Years Past 15

The Technologizer has collected a series of electronic gaming patents spanning from 1969 to 1989. The list includes devices such as the Atari joystick, Simon Says, and Nintendo's Game Boy. It also has a variety of less popular devices, at least some of which should be familiar to anyone who was gaming back then. Here's one description: "A game machine has a plurality of targets which unpredictably come out and disappear from their corresponding holes at the surface of a table on a game stand. A player can only strike targets which are positioned above the surface thereof. A main shaft is provided with the target on its upper end and is supported by bearings in such a manner that it can rotate and move up and down. A plunger disposed at the periphery of the main shaft is magnetically attracted by an electromagnetic solenoid. When raised, the main shaft always faces a predetermined direction due to an action of permanent magnets. Hitting of the target can be detected by monitoring abrupt large fluctuations in the current flowing through the solenoid during a period of time that the target is caused to appear above the table." The game? Whack-a-mole.
Patents

McDonalds Files To Patent Making a Sandwich 346

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "McDonalds has applied for patent WO2006068865, which carries the title 'METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MAKING A SANDWICH.' John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, can eat his heart out (unless that's been patented, too). Undoubtedly, some people are contemplating whether there's anything novel in this patent that is somehow obscured by its generic title. Feel free to examine their flowchart for yourself and see exactly how novel their sandwich 'subroutines' are. The good news is that, given that it only mentions generic sandwich making 'tool(s),' rather than any specific machine, it might not survive after the In Re Bilski decision, which was meant to put a stop to absurdities such as this. But until McDonalds's application is rejected or invalidated, make sure you don't use their flowchart when making sandwiches. After all, if you 'apply appropriate condiments to appropriate compartment,' you might infringe upon their IP."

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