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Businesses

Submission + - Why Microsoft Says the Patent System Is Peachy Keen (wired.com)

concealment writes: "In some cases, Microsoft will take calls from outside outfits interested in licensing its patents. RIM or Apple, say, will phone and ask to license Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, a means of synchronizing email, contacts, and calendar entries across phones and other devices. “That’s a pretty friendly set of discussions,” Kaefer says.

But as he puts it, Microsoft will also “pro-actively” drive licensing deals. “We will go out and look for areas where we see a lot people who are probably using our technology in one form or another,” he says, “and we kinda ask ourselves whether it has risen to a level that we care about and we want to have some conversations.” Basically, this involves a Microsoft lawyer like Kaefer trying to convince lawyers at other companies that their technology infringes on Microsoft patents — and that they should pay to license those patents. According to Kaefer, these discussions can spans months — or even years."

Patents

Submission + - Let's Go Back to Patenting the 'Solution,' Not the 'Problem' (wired.com)

concealment writes: "Functional claiming of software inventions is arguably responsible for most of the well-recognized problems with software patents today. Software patentees have increasingly been claiming to own the function of their program itself – not merely the particular way they achieved that goal.

Since patentees have regained the ability to claim ownership not of what they built, but of what it does, they have brought suits purporting to own everything from international electronic commerce to video-on-demand to voice over the Internet to emoticons to means of hedging commodity risk. Mind you, the claims aren’t that defendants used their method of implementing electronic commerce or video on demand: the argument is that defendants used the idea itself."

Businesses

Submission + - Amazon founder Jeff Bezos calls for governments to end patent wars (metro.co.uk)

concealment writes: "So-called patent wars have raged in the smartphone and tablet era, with Apple and Samsung most consistently at loggerheads over their products.

The tech giants have had mixed results in the courtroom, however, as Apple secured a significant legal victory in the US but Samsung won comparative cases in South Korea and Japan, with many more lawsuits not yet heard.

Mr Bezos told Metro that innovation and society itself was threatened by the patent lawsuit culture."

Businesses

Submission + - The Patent, Used as a Sword (nytimes.com)

concealment writes: "Patents are vitally important to protecting intellectual property. Plenty of creativity occurs within the technology industry, and without patents, executives say they could never justify spending fortunes on new products. And academics say that some aspects of the patent system, like protections for pharmaceuticals, often function smoothly.

  However, many people argue that the nation’s patent rules, intended for a mechanical world, are inadequate in today’s digital marketplace. Unlike patents for new drug formulas, patents on software often effectively grant ownership of concepts, rather than tangible creations. Today, the patent office routinely approves patents that describe vague algorithms or business methods, like a software system for calculating online prices, without patent examiners demanding specifics about how those calculations occur or how the software operates."

Businesses

Submission + - Apple-Samsung verdict could accelerate release of new phones (uh.edu)

concealment writes: "Q.) What is the likely impact of this verdict on other manufacturers of electronics?

I think it’s fairly obvious that other companies will take note of this large verdict, and maybe it will put more patent caution into their future phone-design choices and could accelerate the timing of introduction of newer models."

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