Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Application NOT Patent (Score 1) 410

There is no such thing as a provisional patent. Normally, you file a nonprovisional patent application. The Patent Office examines the patent and then decides whether to grant a patent or not. It's also possible to file a provisional patent application. For this type, the patent office never examines the application. It gives the applicant a year to decide whether to follow through or not (i.e., commercialize, raise money or whatever). Before the year is up, the applicant has to file a nonprovisional application, which is then examined.

The above description is for "utility patents." Those are the normal type of patents on inventions. There is a second type of patent called a "design patent." However, for these, there is no "provisional application."

I'm guessing this kid has a provisional patent application on file. He probably doesn't have a patent and it is for a utility not design patent. (Design patents are just for an ornamental design.)

Comment Patent Backlog (Score 1) 274

It often takes 3, 4, 5, or more years just to get the patent granted from the Patent Office.

I'm split on this issue. I've seen a few software patents where I've thought--"these inventors really did deserve a patent." But, then I've seen dozens of others where I've thought--"this is ridiculous." Perhaps, the answer isn't patentability of software but just giving the Patent Office better resources to examine correctly and grant patents that aren't super broad and that are actually novel.

Lots of talk about changing the rules here, with patent reform, etc. Seems like the biggest problem is just patent quality--and to fix that you need more resources at the patent office, better and more examiners.

Comment Re:Beware the simplified summary (Score 2) 288

The America Invents Act which has been passed by the Senate and being considered by the House of Representatives actually introduces a new post-grant opposition procedure to invalidate patents.

Definitely beware of the summary; it's wholly inaccurate. Unfortunately, that's usually the case when reporters report on legal statutes, bills, treaties, etc. Although, there are some good ones out there.

Comment This Post Is Overblown FUD (Score 1, Troll) 288

Sorry for the slightly rude subject, but hopefully that got your attention.

How this agreement is worded, it would not be self-executing. If I'm correct, that would mean this would not be binding federal law even after passed. For that to happen, Congress would have to then enact implementing legislation. This is merely an agreement between nations on what they are going to or should do.

Further, I don't understand all the FUD about the patent provisions. This wouldn't change anything. As far as I can tell, the U.S. already does all of this.

Also, take a look at the America Invents Act which just passed the Senate. That would put U.S. patent law more in line (but not completely) with the rest of the world. It will open up more prior art to invalidate patents. It also has a procedure to re-review crappy business method patents. Lots of stuff that you guys should like. Sure, I'd like to see it go further to stop the patent trolls and make litigation cheaper, but at least it's something.

So Calm Down. You guys don't like patents. We get it; that doesn't mean you have to misrepresent the facts. I also note that for all the companies out there trying to get crappy software patents, there are a whole bunch trying to invalidate them. (Disclosure - part of my job is trying to invalidate crappy software patents. I'm no big fan of them, but that doesn't mean I need to lose grasp of reality.)

Comment Depends on the Subject and on the Class (Score 1) 804

Whether laptops should be in class completely depends on the subject matter. For example, I never used a laptop in undergraduate class. In law school, I always used a laptop for taking notes as did every student save maybe one out of a hundred.

But I can't even imagine using a laptop for math or science courses. Then again, I didn't really take notes in most of my undegrad classes. I definitely found it useful in law school and probably even essential. I can also see using one is undergrad liberal arts courses (e.g., English, History, etc), although I didn't.

Some people have brought up that lectures shouldn't be mandatory. I definitely agree with that. Throughout most of my education, they weren't and I loved that. For Calculus, before class, I'd review the syllabus to see what was going to be lectured on that day. I'd then review those pages and do a few problems. If I understood it, I'd skip class. If I didn't, then I'd go to class. I'd usually attend lecture 1/4 times. Then again, in certain undegrad courses (e.g., history, some computer science courses) and most law school classes, I almost never missed a lecture.

So basically my point is, you really can't generalize. There is no correct answer to whether a laptop should be allowed. It all depends on the major and the individual course. More so, it really depends on the student (and maybe even the lecturer).


German Kindergartens Ordered To Pay Copyright For Songs 291

BBird writes "Deutsche Welle reports: 'Up until this year, preschools could teach and produce any kind of song they wanted. But now they have to pay for a license if they want children to sing certain songs. A tightening of copyright rules means kindergartens now have to pay fees to Germany's music licensing agency, GEMA, to use songs that they reproduce and perform. The organization has begun notifying creches and other daycare facilities that if they reproduce music to be sung or performed, they must pay for a license.'"

Comment Standard Operating Practice? (Score 1) 345

So, it might not be standard or common for U.S. executive to be taking kick-backs like this. But from what I understand, this is extremely common in China. When you outsource and use a Chinese company to help you find the best / cheapest company, you probably aren't getting that. The factory you use will likely have paid a kick-back / bribe to someone working for the Chinese company helping you. From what I've been told (sorry to be vague), the lower level employees do this, and not necessarily the outsourcing company (though that wouldn't surprise me).

Comment Poppycocks (Score 1) 453

Poppycocks, I say! (btw, I don't know if that is a word, but it is fun to say).

Back in the day, most cities had multiple newspapers that competed against each other. However, in the past 25 years or many newspapers have gone under leaving many cities with only one.

Newspapers were hurt by television news and then later even more by 24 hour cable news. Now they are being killed off by the internet.

Hopefully, they find a working business models. Television news is terrible. Most of my news comes from the internet, but from websites such as, etc. Charging isn't going to work.

If this is what Murdoch thinks than it might not be goodbye to free internet news, but goodbye to News Corporation.

Comment Re:Available outside U.S. ? (Score 2, Insightful) 133

That sucks. But can't non-Americans just route through a proxy or something?

I'd probably also blame this on your networks, since they syndicate many of these shows. It would probably violate the contracts to allow non-Americans to view the shows before your local neetwork has shown the program. The question is why is there often such a delay before the foreign network airs the show? If there isn't a delay than this is really stupid.

But really I often just don't understand Hollywood. They bitch that China is pirating all their movies. Yet you can't legally buy them in China. So how can it possibly be costing them money? Plus half the time, the movies wouldn't be allowed in China because of censorship.

Comment Why Would Anyone Hire Nielsen (Score 1) 210

Wow, is a terrible looking website and difficult to use. Why in God's name would anyone hire this man? A useability review from him is something like $38,000. That would be the biggest waste of money ever. Definitely wouldn't trust his services after seeing this website. Also, why after making a comment and hitting the preview button does it take 40 seconds before I can submit the comment. Slashdot has become the most annoying site to submit comments at (yet that is one of the main points of the site).

Comment Re:Only if you make over $250,000 (Score 1) 784

Not really right. I think what you mean is that many states have use taxes for out-of-state purchases which equals what they would have paid in sales taxes had they made the purchase in-state. However, nobody actually pays the use tax (since, hell, nobody actually knows how much they purchased out-of-state, so enforcing use tax laws would be a nightmare and politically dangerous). This law would allow the states to collect this tax money. But, not all states have use tax. For example, I believe in Missouri your first $2,000 in out-of-state purchases are exempt (and I don't think I know anyone who has paid the tax for an amount greater than that, though most people probably spend under $2,000, which is probably why that is the rule). So this law will encourage states to tax what they otherwise aren't taxing, so politicians can get their greedy little paws on more of our money. This isn't an internet loophole. It's always been this way with mail-order. Congress and States are trying to raise our taxes.

Slashdot Top Deals

"We Americans, we're a simple people... but piss us off, and we'll bomb your cities." -- Robin Williams, _Good Morning Vietnam_