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Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 4, Informative) 243

Seriously though, how can a golf ball have 11 patents on it?

Read Costco's reply to the court, in which each patent is listed along with Acushnet's claims and Costco's rebuttal. You can look the patents up online at the USPTO web site. Let's look at a few, shall we?

Patent# 6,994,638 - Golf balls comprising highly-neutralized acid polymers.
Abstract
A golf ball comprising a core comprised of a polymer containing an acid group fully-neutralized by an organic acid or a salt, a cation source, or a suitable base thereof, the core having a first Shore D hardness, a compression of no greater than about 90, and a diameter of between about 1.00 inches and about 1.64 inches; and a cover layer comprising ionomeric copolymers and terpolymers, ionomer precursors, thermoplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, polybutadiene rubber, balata, grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, non-grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, single-site polymers, high-crystalline acid polymers and their ionomers, or cationic ionomers.

What is claimed is:

1. A golf ball comprising: a core comprising a center and an outer core layer, the center comprising a thermoset polybutadiene rubber composition having a first hardness; and the outer core layer comprising a polymer comprised of an acid group fully-neutralized by an organic acid or a salt of the organic acid, and a cation source or a suitable base of the cation source; and having a second hardness; and an inner cover layer and an outer cover layer comprising ionomeric copolymers and terpolymers, ionomer precursors, thermoplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, polybutadiene rubber, balata, grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, non-grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, single-site polymers, high-crystalline acid polymers and their ionomers, polyurethnnes, polyureas, polyurethane-ureas; polyurea-urethanes; or cationic ionomers; wherein the first hardness is from about 50 Shore A to about 55 Shore D and first hardness is less than the second Shore D hardness by at least about 10 points.

Here's Costco's rebuttal:

11. Costco is not infringing any valid claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,994,638 (“the ’638patent”). Acushnet has accused Costco of infringing claim 1 of the 638 patent. Costco’s sales of the KS golf ball do not constitute infringement of claim 1 of the 638 patent, however, because, among other things, the Shore D hardness of the center core of the KS ball is not “at least about 10 points” less than the Shore D hardness of the outer core.
12. The 638 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 and/or 112. The claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102 and/or 103, for example, in light of U.S. Patent No. 6,468,169 and other prior art publications and activities

Clearly, a lot of chemistry work went into this patent to make the balls have a certain elasticity. Costco says that their balls do not have the same properties, therefore they did not infringe upon this claim.

Here's another:

Patent# 8,123,632 - Multi-layer golf ball
Abstract
Golf balls consisting of a dual core and a dual cover are disclosed. The dual core consists of an inner core layer formed from a rubber composition and an outer core layer formed from a highly neutralized polymer composition.

Here's the claim in question:

"17. A golf ball consisting essentially of: an inner core layer formed from a rubber composition and having a diameter of from 1.100 inches to 1.400 inches, a center hardness (H.sub.center) of 50 Shore C or greater, and an outer surface hardness of 65 Shore C or greater; an outer core layer formed from a highly neutralized polymer composition and having an outer surface hardness (H.sub.outer core) of 75 Shore C or greater; an inner cover layer formed from a thermoplastic composition and having a material hardness (H.sub.inner cover) of from 80 Shore C to 95 Shore C; and an outer cover layer formed from a composition selected from the group consisting of polyurethanes, polyureas, and copolymers and blends thereof. "

While a multi-layer golf ball is nothing new, this patent builds on an older patent for a multi-layer ball. Acushnet claims this is a new innovation that Costco violated. Costco claims otherwise:

15. Costco is not infringing any valid claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,123,632 (“the ’632 patent”). Acushnet has accused Costco of infringing claim 17 of the ’632 patent. Costco’s sales of the KS ball do not constitute infringement of claim 17, however, because, at the least, the surface hardness of the outer core of the KS ball is not 75 Shore C or greater.
16. The 632 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 and/or 112. The claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102 and/or 103, for example, in light of U.S. Publication No. 2007/0281802 and other prior art publications and activities.

So Costco again says that because their balls don't have the same properties, they aren't violating this patent. This is all pretty standard legal wrangling.

Comment Re:Yeesh (Score 1) 288

"Everyone needs to be sure to tighten one's safety belt before approaching the cliff."

No. "Everyone" is a collective noun. In this context, the intent is that each member of that collective needs to take action individually. Therefore a plural pronoun would be appropriate.

Which means this isn't even a good example of needing a singular pronoun. It should be "their".

Comment Re:It's just smart business. (Score 1) 330

But it does!

When I can manufacture in China where I don't have to pay for air scrubbers or sewage treatment but instead dump the waste chemicals in the river and simply blow all the fumes from manufacturing outside I have much higher profits.

The EPA strangles companies trying to make maximum profits by not blotting out the sun with pollution or turning the waterways into chemical tubs of death.

Rich people profits are far more important than clean water and clean air.

Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 1) 243

Just another reason to SHORTEN the length of patents for none drug inventions. There is NO reason on earth that a patent on a golf ball needs to be 20 years

Why not? Is the research into the aerodynamic characteristics of a golf ball more or less worthy than the research into the hydrodynamic characteristics of a blood vessel stent? For that matter, someone who keeps active as a golfer is likely to be healthier longer than someone who is sedentary and requires drugs and other medical interventions to live. Certainly you'd agree that the sporting goods companies have done more good for public health than Martin Shkreli ever did as CEO of a drug company.

Research is research, and the law says that inventors can profit from their inventions. I'm sorry you don't like that.

Comment Re:Does it account for greedy homeowners? (Score 3, Informative) 115

Sounds like someone is pissy he cant fly through a residential area at 50mph instead of the 25mph he is supposed to go. Speed bumps around here are no problem at all if you take them at or below the posted speed limit. The only people that hate them are the self righteous greedy assholes that speed through a residential area.

Comment Re:Second rule of business (Score 1) 113

Your business has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to sell... it has absolutely everything to do with what your customers want to buy.

"But we can shift that paradigm! This time, we'll plan better, we just need to educate our consumers."

Well, at least they taught their consumers a valuable lesson: Sony, famously guilty for shitting on the rights of virtually everyone through their crappy DRM-enabled hardware, still sold way more consoles than Microsoft.

Microsoft just has never excelled at building what customers want.

Nokia and everyone else had phones with Java, so Microsoft shipped WinCE phones - that didn't sell.
Apple came out with their DRM-encumbered iPod, so Microsoft followed it up with the DRM encumbered Zune - that didn't sell.
Apple came out with the iPhone with the walled app garden; so Microsoft shipped Windows Phones with a walled garden - that didn't sell.
Steam and Sony and Nintendo came out with DRM encumbered games; so Microsoft shipped the XBox One - that sold quite a few, but sucked.

Their two biggest problems are that they want to use services as license enforcement gateways, and that their stiffest competition to their Software V3.0 is their own Software V2.0. Nothing new in Office has been worth buying upgrades since about 2007, yet they have managed to convince some people to upgrade to Office 2010, 2013, and now Office365.

And people are getting more and more fed up with the constant greed. LibreOffice has caught up to about Office 2007 in terms of maturity, which is good enough for a lot of people and companies. Linux has caught fire in the corporate world, overthrowing WIndows Servers by the millions. Cloud computing is moving companies to outsource their hardware data centers. Azure is competent in this arena, but cloud computing is already close to a commodity - there's not a lot of value Microsoft can add over the other big players.

It's weird, but at the core it's an existential crisis for one of the world's largest companies. They are desperately trying to figure out something to sell that will still be in demand 10 years from now.

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