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Comment Re:Terrible decision, regardless of patent feeling (Score 1) 48

You're misrepresenting the opinion. The opinion is not "Oh, let's go back to the incremental value added by the patented technology as the yardstick for profitability"

I never said it was. I said they're disregarding the explicit language of a long-standing statute and previous Congress-slap of the court, and replacing it with "you want a test? Go make one up." And sadly that's not a misrepresentation. It's barely even a paraphrase.

In the carpet's case, 100% of the carpet violates the patent, regardless of whether you compare it to a beige carpet or not.

Flip over a carpet sometime. You'll see a standard mat that the fibers are woven into that is the same, regardless of design. That mat is a substantial part of the carpet, literally holding it together.

Reading the opinion, they're not just making up that criterion. The "article of manufacture" concept is long standing in the patent world, and it would certainly mean a complete shake up of patents if patents ceased to apply to components, and only to the whole of a completed product. (Whether that's a good or bad thing I'll leave to the lawyers.)

Yes, but it's not necessary to redefine article of manufacture. Going back to the 1887 statute, the phrase was "the total profit made by him from the manufacture or sale. . . of the article or articles to which the design, or colorable imitation thereof, has been applied.” And this was preserved in the 1952 Act, saying:

Whoever during the term of a patent for a design, without license of the owner, (1) applies the patented design, or any colorable imitation thereof, to any article of manufacture for the purpose of sale, or (2) sells or exposes for sale any article of manufacture to which such design or colorable imitation has been applied shall be liable to the owner to the extent of his total profit, but not less than $250...

So the question is not "what's an article of manufacture, is it just a component", but "to what has the design been applied". And there, it seems that you can either say, "it's applied to the product", or you can go to ever narrower levels of "it's applied to a case... well, part of the case... well, really just the surface of part of the case... well, just the paint on the surface of part of the case... but not the primer either..."

Comment Just to clarify... (Score 1) 24

A Wisconsin federal jury found that Life Tech had willfully infringed and should pay $52 million in damages. But the district judge overseeing the case set aside that verdict after trial, ruling that since nearly all of the Life Tech product had been assembled and shipped from outside the US, the product wasn't subject to US patent laws.

It's infringement under US Patent law to make, use, or sell a patented invention in the US. However, it's also infringement to import a patented invention, made elsewhere, into the US. So you can't, for example, escape liability by saying "oh, we don't manufacture in the US. We manufacture in Mexico and then heave them over Trump's wall to waiting buyers." So, something had been assembled and shipped from outside the US would still be subject to US patent laws if it was being shipped to the US.

In this case, LifeTech manufactures their kits in the UK and sells them in Europe (and elsewhere). One component of the kit is manufactured in the US and shipped from the US to the UK, and the question is whether that component brings those sales under US patent law.

So, just to clarify, the summary should be "since nearly all of the Life Tech product had been assembled and shipped from outside the US to locations outside the US, the product wasn't subject to US patent laws."

Comment Re:Terrible decision, regardless of patent feeling (Score 1) 48

So that stood for 140 years (including the 1952 Patent Act, where Congress again said that the damages for infringement were the total profit).

You're totally right, of course.

Samsung should give all of its smartphone profits to Apple since it infringed on some of Apple's patents.

And conversely, Apple should give all of its iPhone profits to Samsung, since the court had also found that the iPhone had infringed on some of Samsung's patents.

Not quite - the "total profit" part in the statute only applies to design patents. And Samsung never accused Apple of infringing any design patents, and Apple was never found to have done so. So, no, the damages wouldn't offset that way.

The better question is "why are design patents treated differently?"

Comment Re:Terrible decision, regardless of patent feeling (Score 1) 48

I'm finding it somewhat improbable that an 8-0 decision would be made on a deeply divided Supreme Court with justices having dramatically different views of the constitution if there's such a compelling case in opposition to the decision they made. Can you put forward a theory that explains why all eight justices rejected this argument?

This case doesn't involve constitutionality at all, so their deeply divided views there don't matter. Most patent decisions are unanimous or nearly unanimous. Generally, because they care about patents and technology exactly as much as you'd expect from a bunch of 70 year olds that don't even use email.

Why did they reject the argument? Because they didn't like the outcome.
What's the legal reasoning that supports that? There really isn't any. If there's no constitutional argument to be made, they don't get to rewrite a statute just because they dislike the outcome. Instead, they try to shoehorn in a statutory interpretation argument that doesn't really apply, considering that Congress explicitly told them how to interpret the statute the last time this happened.

Comment Re:Terrible decision, regardless of patent feeling (Score 1) 48

I don't give a shit what congress said 100+ years ago. Rationalizing that rounded corners is worth the entire profits of a phone is intuitively wrong.

And if so, Congress should change the law. The Supreme Court doesn't just get to rewrite things on their own for funsies. If it's not unconstitutional - and there's absolutely nothing about this that's unconstitutional, nor does the Court ever suggest there is - then they can't simply strike down a law because they dislike the outcome.

Comment Re:Terrible decision, regardless of patent feeling (Score 1) 48

If the cases were so cut-and-dried, why was the decision 8-0? Usually, if there is such an obvious conflict with the law, at least ONE justice will dissent. But zero?

The justices know as much about patents and technology - and are interested in knowing about patents and technology - exactly as much as you'd expect for a bunch of people in their 70s. This decision barely hit 9 pages, and half of that was on the procedural history of the trial and appeal. They had some clerk rush this off, and they don't really care - hence why they acknowledge there needs to be test, but simply remand to the Federal Circuit to come up with the test.

So why 8-0? Because 7 of them probably didn't bother to read the opinion.

Comment Terrible decision, regardless of patent feelings (Score 4, Interesting) 48

Regardless of whether you're pro-patent or anti-patent, pro-Apple or anti-Apple, pro-Samsung or anti-Samsung, this was a terrible decision. It threw out 140 years of precedent, and then explicitly refuses to replace it with anything.

Specifically, up until 1885, the patent act had damages for infringement of a design patent that were "the actual damages sustained". In 1885, there was a design patent infringement case having to do with carpet designs. The lower court said the actual damages were the infringer's profits, in $ per yard of carpet sold. The Supreme Court reversed and said that since bland carpets have some intrinsic value, then the damages should be limited only to what part of the profits that were explicitly due to the design, as opposed to the carpet. I.e. if you can sell this carpet for $5/yard, or you could sell a beige carpet for $3/yard, then the profits due to the design are $2/yard.

Mmmkay, whatever, but that's not what Congress intended. So in 1887, Congress explicitly rewrote the statute to reverse the Supreme Court's ruling, saying that the damages for infringing a design patent were "the total profit made by the manufacture or sale of the article to which the design had been applied." This is how checks and balances work under our Constitution... The Supreme Court can interpret anything that's ambiguous in a statute, as a check on Congress; and Congress can draft statutes that explicitly overturn Court rulings and say "x is the proper interpretation, rather than y". Here, they said it was the total profits for the sale of the article, so that infringing carpet is back to $5/yard.

So that stood for 140 years (including the 1952 Patent Act, where Congress again said that the damages for infringement were the total profit).

But then here, the Court steps in and says "oh, by total profit, it's just the total profit for any component using the design, not the entire article." So, for example, the design on those carpets may only apply to the top fibers and not the mat into which they're woven, so the profits are... well, no one sells just the top fibers, so no one knows. And the justification for this is based on the fact that you can get a utility patent that covers a component. But that's not really a good justification to overturn 140 years of precedent and completely disregard what Congress has said, twice.

And then if that weren't bad enough, the decision ends with "so how do we determine whether the 'article' for purposes of infringement is the entire device or just a component? That would require us to set out a test for identifying the relevant article... But that's hard, so we're not going to do it."

It's as bad as the Alice Corp. decision with Justice Thomas saying, "abstract ideas are unpatentable. What's an abstract idea? Eh, we don't need to define that." Both pro-patent and anti-patent ridiculed him for that, rightly. This decision is at least as bad, with it's "we need a test to identify the relevant article, but we're going to punt on that question and hope that someone else answers it."

Comment No, comrades, it's doubleplusgood (Score 5, Informative) 320

... at least, according to the people who stand to make $160 million over the next two years "fighting propaganda" by reading blogs and blacklisting any they disagree with.

Fortunately, they won't come for Slashdot. This is News for Nerds, we never discuss things like politics or rights or surveillance...

Comment Re:C is for Catastrophic (Score 1) 249

You can see the evolution of the global warming argument in that acronym.

When it was just "global warming", the argument was basically "global warming is not happening".

Then, when it got too hard to sustain pure denial, they added "anthropogenic", so the argument became "OK, global warming is happening, but it's not us that's causing it"

Now we see "catastrophic" added and the argument morphs again: "OK we are causing global warming, but it's not going to be as bad as people say".

If things carry on like this, presumably the next letter will be "L" for "liable". LCAGW: "Ok, global warming might get pretty bad, but I don't see why I should have to pay for it"

Comment Question from the final debate (Score 1) 1321

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I want to ask you about one last question in this topic. You have been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you.

Your running mate, Governor Pence, pledged on Sunday that he and you -- his words -- "will absolutely accept the result of this election." Today your daughter, Ivanka, said the same thing. I want to ask you here on the stage tonight: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely -- sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

Perhaps he should've asked Clinton that question?

Comment Re:Easy win so load show up with friends (Score 1) 191

The reason they have been searching for months for a diverse female lead is that they are looking for some real diversity. Hollywood has tons of tons of actors of every ethic or ethnic-mix persuasion, hoards of actors of every sexual persuasion and gender-identity, abundant of actors of every of religion you can imagine. But they wanted to push the envelope and find some real diversity.

They put out a lead casting call across all of Hollywood, seeking Actress who was Republican. Two weeks into the search they thought they finally had someone for the part, but it turned out to be Clint Eastwood in a dress.


Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 121

It's not about possession, it's about who's in control of the "make a copy" process.

So if I first ask my girlfriend to make me a mix CD, then I become party to her copyright infringement, but if she just does it of her own accord I'm fine?

Yes. It's called induced infringement - where you induce another to infringe on your behalf.
The rest of your questions have the same answer.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 121

I was under the impression that downloading is illegal, but uploading is not, and that is why it is handled in civil, not criminal, court. Is that correct?

Nope, both are illegal, both criminally and civilly. Specifically, 15 USC 504 has civil remedies for copyright infringement, including both copying and distribution. 15 USC 506 has criminal punishments for copyright infringement, including both copying and distribution. The difference? The criminal penalties only attach when the infringement was committed "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain"; "by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180–day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000"; or "by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution."

For most casual sharing, it's not for private financial gain, so the first one is out. It's also not usually totaling over $1000... but watch out, because many people's upload or shared folder can frequently approach that. And it's rarely a leaked pre-release work, though that does happen too. So, generally, most people don't run into criminal copyright infringement (it tends to be more counterfeiters), but it could happen.

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