Friday, June 09, 2006

Ridiculous Patent: Simple Network Protocol

Note: this was originally to be posted 2 days ago, but blogger.com has been pretty much offline since Wednesday. The Lesson in all this: if you are going to start a blog, just shell out the $5/mo that it costs to get a shared hosting account with a provider of your choice and use WordPress.

Net2Phone, a Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) company that was largely unsuccessful in the marketplace has now turned to the tried-and-true strategy of suing its successful competitors with its overly-broad and extremely obvious patents. It's first victim is Skype.

As Tim Lee over at TechLiberation says,
Where to begin? This describes an absolutely pedestrian networking protocol. There's nothing remotely novel or non-obvious about two computers communicating directly with each other without using a server. I don't even understand what the "invention" is supposed to be. If you asked a random CS major how to implement a peer-to-peer network application, he'd probably come up with a description like this in about 10 minutes.

Some people seem to think that these kinds of bad software patents are anomalies--that there are good ones as well, and that we ought not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Yet I've seen news accounts of more than a dozen examples of bogus patent suits in recent months, but I have yet to see an example of a legitimate software patent. There's an awful lot of bath water here, and I'm having trouble seeing the baby.
He's right. If there is a baby in there, it long ago sunk beneath the murky surface, out of sight and out of breath. Drowned, if you will, by a sea of junk patents handed out willy-nilly by the patent office, who were pursued relentlessly by patent lawyers, patent trolls, and failed companies like Net2Phone and NTP.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will see the baby, dude :)

The baby is now struggling trying to get some angel or VC financing to do anything at all with his (still pending) very novel and unobvious *software* patent.
By the time the patent issues and financing is secured all of the major manufacturers will be using the invention without taking a license.
By that time the baby will look more like a big and ugly patent troll.
This is how it works in a dog-eat-dog corporate zoo out there...

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there should be a patent bounty funded by the inventor at the time of patent application. The method of the patent remains secret during the examination period, but the goal of the patent is made public. Now the public should be allowed to implement the patent if they can, and as a reward for success, they receive the bounty. If the bounty is paid then the patent is not issued, and the "invention" is made public as in public domain. If these inventions are truly non obvious, then this wouldn't change anything; but I doubt that is what will happen.

-gearspring

3:43 PM  
Blogger Alex Nagy said...

What utter non-sense. When will the software industry learn it cannot turn to sueing other companies when their own business model completely fails.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Simon Mitchell said...

Although it takes time for a patent to go through there are so many close VOIP systems that a patent cannot be issued, I spend most of my time in my italian property and use the laptop for my work and play, it is necessary for me to have a good connection online and I chose a spot that would offer one, the voip system I use is probably not patented but who cares as long as it works.

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Mitchel Saunders said...

A friend of mine had a patent pending for years just to have it rejected, it is a mine field there are so many inventions or modifications I read about a patent issue in a tom tom sat nav review I do not think it was this company but someone trying to patent one of their functions.

6:47 AM  
Blogger angelin said...

Some people seem to think that these kinds of bad software patents are anomalies–that there are good ones as well, and that we ought not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Yet I’ve seen news accounts of more than a dozen examples of bogus patent suits in recent months, but I have yet to see an example of a legitimate software patent. There’s an awful lot of bath water here, and I’m having trouble seeing the baby.
--------------------------

Angelinjones
Interactive Marketing

3:29 AM  
Anonymous Auto Parts said...

by the time the patent issues and financing is secured all of the major manufacturers will be using the invention without taking a license.

Auto Parts

7:03 PM  

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