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Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 4, Informative) 246

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.
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
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 ( 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:Where's the news? (Score 1) 246

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:What will happen to humans? (Score 2) 346

We live in a society that expects everyone to work, but what will happen when there are no jobs? Crime?

Sorry, crime has been outsourced to foreign hackers. Besides, prisoners get free food and shelter, we just can't afford that kind of socialist welfare state any more.

Extreme poverty? Mass protests?

Check. Check. Also a mass exodus of refugees heading to robotless countries.

Political or religious extremism?

OR? We should be so lucky to have only one or the other.

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.

Comment Re:Lack of originality did the deed. (Score 5, Informative) 299

Now check out Netflix's stuff.

Daredevil? House of Cards? Fuller House? Arrested Development? All of them are reboots/sequels or remakes. What makes them good or bad is not whether they are remakes. Hollywood has been doing remakes from the beginning (The Wizard of Oz and The Maltese Falcon are both remakes of earlier, less successful attempts to adapt those books to the screen).

Comment Re:Let's see if I have this right (Score 4, Insightful) 538

Coming up with something would require planning, negotiation, and "horse trading" skills. Trump is not known for any of these skills.

Oh, come on. I think the President is a buffoon but even I still recognize that if he has one legitimate claim to competence in any field is it "negotiation and horse trading." I have no doubt that he is genuinely good at it.

The real problem, as Trump is painfully beginning to discover, is that running a government involves a kind of negotiations that are exponentially more difficult and unsatisfying than business negotiation. Here's why:

In a business negotiation, one of the most vital factors is the fact that (generally speaking) you can always walk away. You're trying to buy Company X or real estate Z and your negotiating partner wants an unreasonable price or unacceptable conditions that there's no breaking the impasse over? Walk away. No deal gets done, but the world keeps spinning on its axis just fine with no real consequences. (Mostly.)

But in government? You don't get a debt ceiling increase passed, you don't get to walk away while the government stops paying its bills and torpedoes the world economy. You don't get an acceptable deal with Iran over its nuclear program, you don't get to walk away and just let them build nukes. You don't get a Middle East peace agreement that you want, you don't get to walk away and remove the US from the region while wholesale slaughter starts. There are real stakes in much of what the government does and no option to just walk away.

So I think that while Trump is undoubtedly good at negotiations, he's having to do them in a completely new environment with a different set of variables and new stakes. And with a 35% or whatever it is approval rating, he doesn't have as much leverage as he's used to. All in all, it's pretty much a perfect recipe for anyone to fail at being a negotiator even if they're otherwise good at it.

Comment What is the Purpose of Prison? (Score 1) 131

[1] Is it to punish Bad Guys, said punishment being a deterrent to keep all those not-quite Bad Guys from taking the plunge?

[2] Is it to protect the populace, keeping Bad Guys off the streets?

[3] Or is it to rehabilitate Bad Guys, transform them into Good Guys?

If it's [1] or [2], ditch the iPads and stack 'em up like cordwood. If it's [3], give 'em all iPads and teach 'em web design (the modern equivalent of making license plates), but don't call it 'prison,' because words mean something. It seems to me the justice system blurs all these distinctions into a muddy and costly mess.

Comment Re:Block on the phone. (Score 2) 76

I like the idea of moving as much decision making as possible to the phone, but I don't want a whitelist. That would require me to make the effort to whitelist people, plus having the prescient power of anticipating which strangers I want to hear from (e.g. whoever found my dog and called the number on her collar). I'm ok with getting a call from a stranger, as long as their "return address" isn't forged. If the return address is correct, and they are annoying, I can blacklist 'em. Allowing strangers to call me is the best default. Not perfect (it's easy to imagine some failure scenarios), but best.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 402

This just removes the fig leaf. .. Anyone who's serious about security wouldn't rely on the ISP being on their side-- one would already be using strong encryption etc. for all communication if one were actually concerned about security.

This really is the best way to look at things.

If people want "privacy laws" then those laws shouldn't be about what's not allowed to happen; the laws need to be about what is required to happen (the goal being to encourage common sense practices, because nobody can protect your privacy for you.). Make it so that businesses and people can't access government's network services without going through a darknet, for example. Do not allow any plaintext email communication with the government. Put into "REAL ID" that the issuing authority also has to sign the identified person's key and include the fingerprint on the ID card. Don't allow government money to be spent on computers containing any software which can't be audited and maintained. And so on.

Don't make anyone protect their privacy overall, but do make it so that they have to pay lip service to common sense in any interaction with government (and then let convenience and economy of scale take it from there; lazy people will then do the right thing). Or, just don't have privacy laws since, obviously, we don't really care. Pick one or the other.

Comment Re:Rotten Tomatoes is getting self-important (Score 1) 395

I do the same when looking for a restaurant - find a negative review and they'll tell you everything good about the place that they don't understand.

This. I use this same strategy when evaluating any product. Read a few good reviews, sure, but I need to read a few of the top negative reviews to figure out if the product actually has weaknesses that matter to me, or if it's just been purchased by a few users with unrealistic expectations.

The good thing about negative reviews is they usually aren't placed there by the business or by a sock puppet/SEO, so the dishonest reviews are at least more transparent. If some jerk with a grudge posts a 1 star review, they'll often include a whole sob story about how this company was unfair to them because they didn't immediately replace the broken thing the user dropped on a concrete floor.

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