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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:16 AM EDT

Here's a truly disgusting story. Kodak bought some patents from Wang in 1997. The patents cover a method by which a program can "ask for help" from another application to carry out certain functions, which is more or less what Java does. Kodak's business is suffering from the digital revolution, so it decided to sue Sun for infringing its purchased patents. It claims that Sun pilfered its technology. The two companies worked on some joint projects together at one time that involved the same technology at issue in the lawsuit, which Sun argued was an indication of Kodak's implied consent.

Friday, Kodak won. What we are seeing is a patent system spinning out of control, one that is destroying creativity and innovation in the software industry.

Software has not always been covered by patent law, and it's not a statute that made it happen, but a case decision. That means it can change back. Case law is changed by someone bringing a case that makes it obvious to the court that change is needed. Somebody needs to do something about this problem, before it becomes impossible for anyone to write software unless they have a pile of billions on hand to pay out in case they get sued for patent infringement.

This case is Exhibit A. Sun, for all its faults, developed Java. Sun is a tech company that cares about excellence, and they have put their heart and soul into developing Java. A community formed around Java too, and many, many individuals also contributed to its development.

Kodak now says it will seek, in the damages part of the trial, $1.06 billion in past royalties, which they calculate represents *half* of Sun's operating profit from the sales of computer servers and storage equipment between January 1998 and June 2001. Why do they feel that is fair? Because Java provides "the engine for such computer equipment". Puh-lease. This is their workaround. You can download Java free, so I gather they wish to grab their royalties loot from Sun's hardware sales instead. I would expect them to also try to work out some kind of ongoing royalty deal as well, until the patent runs out. What kind of an upside-down, irrational Alice-in-Wonderland world do we live in, where such a result is possible?

Sun says it will put on "a vigorous defense" in the damages section of the trial, but what good will that do? I have no doubt they put on a vigorous defense in the part of the trial they just lost, too. The system is broken, and the sooner people realize that, the better. Patents and software don't mix well. The court that married them made a mistake. Software and patents need to get a divorce, so each can get on with its life in peace.

Europe. Are you watching? Is this system what you want where you live? If you think you can have a patent system and just work around US "excesses", think again. If you read this history of patents in the US by Bitlaw, you will see that it started small here too, and everyone tried to make the kinds of distinctions you currently are trying to craft in Europe. But look at the results here. The same thing will happen to you, if you allow patents at all on software. The excesses are part of the system as it is eventually applied by greedy individuals and companies, and you can't legislate against greedy gaming of a system. It happens.

Think about it carefully, because this is exactly what happens when you adopt a system that rewards the Kodaks of the world for such behavior and penalizes Sun for years and years of expense and sweat and toil and creativity by robbing them of their due reward, not to mention removing any motive to ever do such innovative things again as long as they live. What happens now to Sun's Java Desktop? It was supposed to be a cost-saving alternative to Windows. I wasn't planning on using it, for other reasons, but some would. Now what? What impact will this decision have on the costs of that system? I don't even want to start to think about the implications of this decision for the rest of us. Can Java go open source now, before the patent runs out? That may be sooner than Sun intended to open source it anyway, but the point is, now their code is burdened with patents and the associated costs and restrictions, and Sun doesn't even own or control the patents.

Seriously, folks. Software patents will destroy the industry in the US. The rest of the world will out-innovate US companies, because they won't be running with the patent ball-and-chain attached to their ankles, holding them back. Protect your software with copyright and trade secrets, but using patents for software inevitably blocks progress. If you must have it, rope it off severely so it doesn't hurt anyone like this. At a minimum, patents that aren't actively being used by the patent holder in any way in any product shouldn't be available as a weapon against a company actively bringing an idea to fruition and use. And FOSS, which is developed by individuals, not just companies, needs to be given special consideration so it can continue to be developed at all.

Here's why software and patents don't belong together. For one thing, patents protect *ideas*, not their application. There just aren't enough ways to do fundamental tasks in software to make patents a good fit. Software is math. How many ways are there to say 1+1=2? A couple of years ago, there was a discussion about software patents on Slashdot, and someone with the handle Lonath left this insightful comment, which I edited slightly for language, as indicated by brackets:

"The main issue (IMO) is that people don't get math. Since they say you can't patent an abstract algorithm, but you can patent a mathematical algorithm if it's useful, you're saying that the same thing is both patentable and not patentable. The reason people think this way is that they think word problems aren't math problems. So, when you start giving numbers in algorithms real-word meaning, people get that confused GW Bush look and start fumbling around thinking that because the math has some real-world meaning given to it, it's somehow different than abstract math. Which is [absolutely incorrect]. What we need is to send people back to elementary school so that they can learn that when you solve an abstract math problem, then you give the numbers real-world meaning in a word problem, you don't change the problem."

It's a comment I hope Europeans think carefully about, as some try to fashion a patent system that isn't a patent system.

Another reason software and patents don't belong together is because software is more complex than a cotton gin or whatever else you might typically invent in a bricks and mortar world. Here's how The League for Programming Freedom expressed it in a submission to the Patent Office:

"This capacity for complexity is a great strength because it permits the creation of highly sophisticated products. But it also means that most products, simply by their very complexity, are dependent on a vast range of software technologies.

"In most other industries, a product will contain perhaps twenty parts. In the case of sophisticated consumer goods, such as video cameras, we could raise this to 1000 parts. Nevertheless, the constraints of the real world ensure that the complexity of the product cannot become too great. Software, however, is essentially free from these constraints. A major computer program can comprise anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million lines of code. In most other industries a product will involve technologies covered by just a few patents. In the software industry, a product can contain thousands of inventions, any of which might be patented.

"For instance, even when buying something as mundane as a word processor, you might be able to choose between a word processor with built-in spelling checker, ability to format multi-column text, and an outline editor; a word processor with proportional fonts, an equation editor, and kanji capabilities; and a word processor that has style sheets, a page previewer, and document interchange facilities. And this is only the start. When you look closely you will find that each word processor actually incorporates thousands of different user visible features. Tens of thousands more features exist inside that are visible only by a programmer. The total number of features contained in something as simple as a word processor is enormous. Thus, patents make the legal risks and expenses associated with developing even well understood software frightening."

The paper also notes that patent searches are harder too, because software is more abstract, so even when you do search, it's hard to know what does and what doesn't infringe:

"In short, because of their broad coverage and complexity, software patents introduce far more uncertainty than do their non-software cousins. And uncertainty is bad for business. Uncertainty makes it difficult to decide the best strategy to pursue. Which patents might you be in violation of? Will the patent owners take any action? What royalties will they request? Will they sue? Will you be able to get the patent overturned? What damages might be awarded?

"These are not questions that can be incorporated into the smooth everyday running of a business. They are not questions comparable with concerns about tuning advertising or production inefficiencies. Rather these are issues that can kill products stone dead and destroy companies.

"The penalties for patent infringement can be severe. The most famous case was Polaroid v. Kodak in which damages amounted to $900 million - with a further $500 million reportedly being spent by Kodak buying cameras back from consumers."

Maybe that experience is what gave Kodak the idea. The sheer number of software programs constantly being developed also makes patent searches an overwhelming task. And how do you research prior art in proprietary software licensed under terms that forbid reverse engineering? There are other reasons too that they list. Software is developed so rapidly a 20-year blockade is impractical; it never wears out, so the traditional argument that patents are needed to stimulate stagnant industries doesn't apply. Patents hold back rapid development, and they are designed to protect mature industries, once the rapid phase is completed, but with software, there is no end to the rapid development, no maturity plateau that can be beneficially protected. As Microsoft has learned, software doesn't wear out. You can run Windows 95 in 2004, if you so choose, and the only motivation to upgrade is if the customer wants innovation, new bells and whistles. So patents aren't needed to encourage invention. Software companies have to invent, because their product never wears out.

Then there is the patent costs to both large and small software companies:

"The cost of patents is proportional to the development cost because it is the amount of stuff that you actually put in your product that determines how many different patents may be involved. In other industries, production costs dwarf development costs, and so the overhead of the patent system (on the development cost) is a minor component in the entire enterprise. However, in software the entire cost is development, and so the patent system represents an enormous cost to the industry. The auto industry would scream if the government affected production margins by just 1%. The software industry is being progressively slugged with what will be a far greater impediment, but so far has not reacted to the threat coherently.

"The effect on large companies is that they will have to incorporate the patent process into their software development process, set up bulky legal divisions, get into the business of cultivating defensive patent suites, and perpetually negotiate royalty payments and settle lawsuits. For most big companies that focus on developing software, such action will for a time allow them to survive, for with enough broad and trivial patents in their suite they can threaten virtually anyone who threatens them. But they will also probably encounter companies THAT DO NOT DEVELOP SOFTWARE; that are demanding royalties with the gloves off! Because such companies have a distinct advantage when negotiating royalty licenses, it is likely that corporate evolutionary selection pressures will make them more numerous in the future. . . .

"The effect of software patents on large companies is bad enough, but to a small company it can be crippling. Large companies may already have a legal infrastructure, but most small companies must rely on the advice of external professionals who charge what seem high rates. Large companies may for a time be able to accept patent lawsuits in their stride, but small companies can be wiped out by a single one - fair or not.

"For many small companies, the prospect of being sued over a patent infringement EVEN IF THE CASE IS UNGROUNDED AND WOULD ULTIMATELY FAIL is so terrifying, that many companies choose to give all patents they know about a wide berth rather than risk the possibility of any kind of patent challenge. Patents and patent laws are so complex that even an ungrounded lawsuit may take a year to resolve, simply because it may be hard to prove quickly that the other side does not have a case. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees will be spent, crippling the target software company.

"Thus, whereas most large pharmaceutical and aerospace companies can afford to conduct ongoing patent battles to resolve the scope of various patents, the small players of the software industry cannot. As a result, they will attempt to steer well clear of patents, making the patents even more powerful than they were ever intended to be."

Depressingly, that paper was written in 1999. I am reproducing it because everything it warned about has come true, and since nobody paid any attention back then, it's worth trying again to show, from results, that software patents were a bad idea, and they still are.

So we currently have a system that duplicates the game of Monopoly. You can't figure out in advance if you infringe, so it's like a roll of the dice. If you get caught, you pay millions or billions. Then you look for a victim who can pay you millions or billions, all sides paying through the nose for the cost of suing each other, and around the board everyone goes. This benefits software development how? And the public benefits how? Let's not even talk about free and open source developers, who obviously can't get into this high-stakes game, not having billions to play with. But what about startup proprietary software companies? Can they play this game? The big guys end up stockpiling patents, suing each other, and then cross-licensing, with costs being passed on to the customer. And for what? How is anyone benefitting from this patent cold war?

Look at the results of this case. No company can safely work with any other, unless battalions of lawyers first clear the field of all conceivable IP landmines. Sun has no incentive now to develop another Java, that is for sure, and Java itself will now be loaded down with patents. Will Sun be able to continue to let you download it for free? How does the US public benefit from this decision? You tell me.

The solution is obvious. Everybody needs to get rid of their stockpiles of weapons. Declare patents don't cover software, and everybody wins. Except some lawyers, who will then have to find other work. And not a moment too soon.

I hope Sun appeals the verdict, and that it uses this case to demonstrate to the courts that the patent system is fundamentally broken and at a minimum needs to be tweaked.


Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun | 696 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments. is microsoft next?
Authored by: jasonstiletto on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:35 AM EDT
That patent could be used to go after .net. I still don't understand how people
can get patents on these things. Software patents will destroy the industry if
no one does anything.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:40 AM EDT

In case you were wondering what patents this suit is about, I found the following:

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, alleges that many of Sun's Java-based products infringe on three patents--numbers 5,206,951, 5,421,012 and 5,226,161--that were issued to Kodak in the mid-1990s and that deal with object technologies underlying Java, a Kodak spokesman said.

See story from a couple of months ago.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: entre on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:07 AM EDT
For Kodak

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT here please...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:12 AM EDT
... as usual.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Trolls, shills, fools and sundry others here please....
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:13 AM EDT
... so we can have a laugh, and then move on to serious posts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What has always baffled me about Software Patents
Authored by: Harry Clayton on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:14 AM EDT

The case that supposedly made software patents viable, has in my mind been intentionally misinterpreted.

The case involved a process control system that contained a computer running software as a component. The software of course allowed the process control system to be quite flexible in ways that would have not been possible with a purely mechanical system. The inventors of this process control system applied for a patent which was rejected by the patent office because the system used software, which is not patentable. The inventors took this rejection to court. The court ruled that just because software was a component of the process control system, that did not make the invention, a system which used software as a component, unpatentable. With this conclusion I agree. The invention being patented was a system which used software as a component. It was not the software that was being patented, it was the system that was being patented.

Somehow, and I have never understood how, this decision has been interpreted as saying that inventions consisting of software only are patentable. With this I do not agree. How did such a faulty interpretation of this case law gain traction?

Linux: There is no infringing code or Manuals.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:02 AM EDT
Kodak is Rochester's largest employer. Rochester is
not a very big city. Can a jury picked from there be

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patenting OO systems?
Authored by: a_t on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:03 AM EDT
I've just tried to read through one of the patents and it certainly looks technical. It looks to me the sort of thing that should be in a peer-reviewed journal, not a Patent Office document.

I have a question for ALL programmers who read Groklaw. Don't other object oriented systems (C++, .Net, whatever) infringe the system described (the "matchmaker") just as much as Java does?

This is meant as an academic question, so I'm not asking about validity of software patents or prior art. Assume for the short and medium term that the patent system is not going to be reformed and that "big business" is increasingly going to pursue the idea of "converting IP into cash" :-(

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:13 AM EDT
People are stupid...

They invest (stock portfolios) into tech or even in housing or even land, and
still expect that the things they invest into stay free or low cost.
You yourself are the one that is driving prices and expectancy over returns into
a absolutely high, so that managers of the invested companies have to come up
with ways to compensate your investment.

If you don't want the software industry to become a high cost strong protected
and highly aggressive, you have to stop investing in it and expect a lot of
money back.

In short: if you don't want your rent to rise through the roof, then you'd
better not invest into land and housing because if you do you have to be paid,
that money has to come from somewhere.

If you don't want kodak to sue another company stop buying their crap.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:17 AM EDT
I have tried to read these patents. They seem to me to be broad, covering
anything from the standard template library of C++ to the new Reiserfs.
Can somebody give a condensed version?

[ Reply to This | # ]

If I had a lot of money...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:27 AM EDT
I would do as Pj was warning companies about.

I would start buying up all sorts of patents Microsoft is/will be infringing on
and just constantly sue and send cease and desist orders for them to stop using
my technology. I would force MS to be the ones to ask for patenting to stop.

Maybe the idea can be ammended and we start building patent warriors such as
this? Maybe a few of us can take on patents who don't develop thus have nothing
to lose, and start suing MS with it's own monopoly system? How would they like
it when suddenly they are assulted with hundreds of patent violations, some
seeking monetary damages and some seeking MS to cease and desist? And I mean
concentrated, well thought out coordinated attacks that render large pieces of
their now illegal OS unusable and their coffers drained.

I wonder if large software houses like IBM and SUN are willing to donate patents
to the FOSS community so we can use them to bring patenting under control?
SUN... you can't sue MS but we can, would you be willing to donate some patents
to help us help you? Maybe we can get software patents off the books and thus
reverse the Kodak decision. IBM, your actions say you are a community member,
and as one, are you willing to step up and set an example? How about you
Novell, or you HP?

We need those that will step up and fight, and we need those that are willing to
support them in the fight. Please step forward and support the good fight
however you can.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Time to publicly boycott all Kodak products
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:41 AM EDT
Sheesh, the list of companies I can't do business with gets longer every day...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Java and the Java Desktop
Authored by: hpp on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:45 AM EDT
> What happens now to Sun's Java Desktop?

Nothing much will change. The JDS is largely a GNOME-based Linux distribution,
with a distinct look&feel, StarOffice, and some management tools. Very
little of it is actually Java based.

The name is good marketing though.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Form Letter
Authored by: feldegast on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:49 AM EDT
Dear Congressman / Member of Parliament

I am a programmer, and recent developments relating to software patents have
caused me serious concern.

I am intending to write a new program, but due to the restrictions placed on me
by software patents I am unsure as to why should I even begin. If I am unable to
ensure that I would not be infringing a software patents somewhere which would
cripple me due to the potential multi-million dollar lawsuits what incentive do
I have? I could develop my new application and then loose everything due to
legal fees and penalties if a patent holder decides to sue me in the future.

Therefore I need to know the following:
What process should I perform to ensure my program doesn’t infringe on the
numerus patents filed around the world?
How am I supposed to protect myself from litigation when I am unable to research
which patents, if any, I might be infringing?
What is the cost to find out? and how as an individual am I supposed to afford
these costs when I am an indovidial/small busness?

How is this system supposed to encourage innovation and development? From
everything I have seen all it does is stifles creativity by the many to the
benefit of the few large corporations with the financial backing to withstand
these costs (especially if they get sued) are the only winners of this system.

Yours faithfully

Concerned Programmer

Feel free to use the above letter, i just wrote it to outline my own concerns on
this issue. if you indend to use it good luck and i hope it doesn't fall on deaf


[ Reply to This | # ]

Not using Kodak anymore
Authored by: golding on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:04 AM EDT
That's it, I have just thrown the Kodak Cameras I had into the rubbish bin. I'm
going to go and buy that digital camera I had been thinking about ... maybe a
(don't know what yet) ... definitely anything BUT a Kodak.

I'll also be lobbying my friends, family and aquaintances to steer clear of
those Kodak Digital Centres popping up everywhere, you know, the ones where you
take your digital camera and have the shots processed, or put onto CD, for a

These companies only understand one thing, MONEY. They won't admit anything is
wrong with their practices unless it affects their bottom line. Let us show
them that immoral corporate procedures WILL affect the bottom line.


Regards, Robert

..... Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I have
never been able to make out the numbers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Taking bets....
Authored by: Latesigner on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:07 AM EDT
How long do you think it will be before the major backers of patent reform are
the big companies ?
I don't like Sun but this is just plain wrong.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Never - Authored by: Jude on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:28 AM EDT
    • cross-licensing - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 08:08 AM EDT
  • Taking bets.... - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 03:46 PM EDT
  • Taking bets.... - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:57 PM EDT
Prognosis for Europe
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:09 AM EDT
The same thing will happen to you, if you allow patents at all on software.

Most likely, it will happen in Europe as its political/power climate is condusive to it. Understand that software patents are one of the most effective mechanisms for the establish power/money interests to effect control over emerging interests. It retains control within the status quo and co-opts the inventions, creativity and energy of those who went outside the system to innovate.

I've lived and worked in flyover USA. I've created three companies, one of which was the first non-government (non-NSF) Internet provider in a half-dozen states. During its early growth, the unilateral response by the old money status quo was the rejection of the business (e.g. "what the hell does anyone need an Internet for? How would a decentralized thing like that be in anyone's interest? How can you make money if nobody ownes it?"). After passing a significant annual run rate, the old money interests swarmed to us - but only to co-opt and control. Eventually several on my board listened to the siren's song of old money and took the bait. Tired old 55+ year old management teams from former regional Bell monopolies were brought in to "supervise the kiddies" and allow the old money to get in on the game. Eighteen months later, they had milked it dry.

Having had first-hand experience with the software patent parasites, I can tell you they're no different. They're trust fund babies; proverbial silver spoon children (isn't it ironic the current US election features one of these from each party?) Growing up in an environment where people are bought and consequence from actions is always negated (daddy will buy you a new car if you smash it up), they're useless at creating but exceptionally effective at consuming. Software patents play into their strength by exerting the legal system they corrupted in order to rig the political system, and retooling it to conquer emerging industries.

Given Europe is overcome with old guard parasites, there's little doubt software patents will become the rule of law. The interesting question isn't whether Western Europe will decay further, but whether former Eastern Europe nations will follow suit or instead break and create a new, progressive, less contaminated Europe. Latvia and the Czech Republic already show significant signs of emerging at the front of the pack (how amusing will it be for Germany to be a backwaters slum, working for Czech companies and managers? It's probably less than 50 years away...)

[ Reply to This | # ]

2 + 2 = 5
Authored by: artp on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:27 AM EDT
... for sufficiently large values of 2.

Kodak has been transforming themselves into a software company for 25 years now.
They are an imaging company now as much as a hardware company. I have a good
friend who was working on their imaging products software back in the 80s.

So perhaps this isn't as cut and dried as it looks. After all the ill feeling
directed at Sun here recently, I'm surprised that they can so suddenly become
the good guy. Or maybe people are reacting to having their Java threatened.

I used to subscribe to the C Journal back when it was a newspaper. Shortly after
it turned into the C/C++ Journal and went to a magazine format, it printed a lot
of articles about object recognition in digitized photos. Kodak was way beyond
that level already, at least judging by the conversations I had with my friend.

Oh, I also have a friend at Sun. This isn't personality driven.

Software patents are still a horribly wrong idea. Software instructions are
building blocks. They are supposed to go together. Think about the results of
patenting a shape made out of Legos (TM). How ridiculous is that? It was
intended that software instructions should be put together. It is not only
obvious, but intentional.

Perhaps people are judging software by the Microsoft manuals, which are very
skimpy. We could take them by the hand and lead them to a shelf or two of JCL
manuals or UNIX system calls, or MPE/ix error codes, and it would become
"intuitively obvious to the most casual observer" that software wants
to be written. In fact, compilers are a fairly valueless product if you can't
make software with them.

Let me repeat that.

Compilers are a fairly VALUELESS product if you can't make software with them.

Or, to put it into philosophical terms: ontogeny begets phylogeny. Function
begets form. It's natural.

I love the word problem analogy. People don't understand math, and they
especially fear word problems. Fear with a sweaty, skin-crawling passionate
FEAR. Word problems are not only used to weed out the freshmen classes of
engineering colleges, they are also used to strike fear into the hearts of
middle-school and high school students everywhere.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:54 AM EDT
The pattern of these patent lawsuits, over the past few years, so far have been
companies that are market losers and financially strapped. It is not the
patent(s) alone that win a case in a lawsuit, so the courts are part of the
problem too.

This case filed in 2002 was long before SCO's use of this same idea, that SCO
followed the pattern to the letter. Not all losers in the changing market will
have the funds to file such lawsuits just to see if they can win or not. The
money makers in the market place will not want lawsuit(s) on the table when
talking to investors.

In this case, as in SCO, a co-development work between these two companies has
formed the basis for a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit long before the SUN Microsoft
deal, tells me the co-development was in this case, as Caldera's work with
Linux, and later Caldera-SCO with IBM, formed the ideal case for SCO ( SCO was
thinking so ! ), now the pattern also takes in co-development between companies
as well.

Market loser, and/or financially strapped, with past co-development(s) with
others companies is the pattern to look for, when tring to see the next target

[ Reply to This | # ]

Question About IP Iitigation
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:54 AM EDT
I take it that neither Kodak nor Sun would go out of their way to disclose that
prior art existed, or the invention was obvious. Doing could result in the
finding that neither party held a valid patent. Then the litigation game would
be over and both would lose.

If this is the case then the issue of prior art and obviousness has not been
addressed in the litigation? Does this open the door for another review by the
patent office?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Could Kodak be a proxy or Microsoft?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:57 AM EDT

Perhaps far fetched, but purely for speculative purposes:
If Java has patent burdens, as it appears it would mean That any java developed
cannot be GPL-ed, result:
- wider acceptence of .NET
- Java cannot be deployed in Linux, since royalties would have to be payed. Open
Office, being JAVA, would be affected.

What a conventiant situation for Microsoft

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: iraskygazer on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:29 AM EDT
This law suite looks like a poison pill for the software industry.
I started software development over 25 years ago. Back then there was no concern
about infringement on software patents.
College professors freely shared new development techniques with their students.
They also promoted the reuse of code they wrote on the whiteboards.
Everybody in software development freely shared their ideas and weren't
overwhelmingly concerned about reuse of those ideas and concepts.
If this lawsuit and software patents as a whole, take hold, the entire concept
of openly sharing ideas will be crushed.
I just hope the people who create the laws, here is the U.S., see how damaging
this trend will be for the software development industry.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does Microsoft already have license to these patents?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:38 AM EDT
In 1996, Microsoft made an equity investment of 10% ($90 million) in Wang
Labs to settle a lawsuit in which Wang claimed Microsoft's OLE technology
infringed their patents. As part of settlement, Wang imaging software was
included in Windows NT.

Are these the same patents?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:41 AM EDT
isn't there a limitted time you can go after patent infringers? i mean, if this
patent dispute would have taken place in 1995, kodak would have essentially got
nothing, but they waited for java to make it and make it big, then they went
after Sun. i thought there were laws about that, saying you need to make your
case in a reasonable amount of time, or does that just pertain to copyright (or
is it trademark?)?

hopefully, if kodak isn't in cahoots with microsoft, they will be the next on
the block. as much as i don't like software patents, i don't mind someone
taking a chunk out of microsoft's wallet either.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:42 AM EDT
Does anyone have a number for the patent?

I find it hard to believe that there isn't prior art for this. PCode, for UCSD Pascal, was used in the late 1970s for program specification. Moreover, i doubt that this was the first commercial example of the use of Virtual Machines. It sounds, from the 30,000 foot levels presented in the article referenced, that the patent covers VMs. Spare me. There has to be prior art to invalidate the claims.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Prior Art - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:58 AM EDT
  • Prior Art - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:14 PM EDT
    • Prior Art - Authored by: Tyro on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 04:51 PM EDT
  • Virtual Machines - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 05:18 PM EDT
    • Virtual Machines - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:47 PM EDT
      • Virtual Machines - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 02:37 PM EDT
    • Virtual Machines - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:33 PM EDT
A good wakeup call
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:47 AM EDT
I think this case might proof useful with regards to how flawed software patents
really are.

I think Sun might have a good change to become the good guy (as in IBM against
SCO), but this time Sun versus software patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Prior art - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:04 PM EDT
  • Sun hasn't the money - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 05:24 AM EDT
Legal question
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:54 AM EDT
Why isn't Gottschalk v Benson still good law?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Prior art
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:05 PM EDT
echo "I am prior art.."

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Prior art - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:50 PM EDT
Silver Lining
Authored by: shareme on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:10 PM EDT
This wil force tow big economic power houses, MS and SUn, to come out agisnt
Software Patents in the long term and challenge others like IBM to do the

Its just amtter of when it will occurr...

Sharing and thinking is only a crime in those societies where freedom doesn't

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft will be next in Kodak's sights
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:17 PM EDT
I think this is extremely amusing since Sun and Microsoft just announced their
patent war on open source. Hopefully this case will demonstrate to Microsoft,
Sun et al that patent offensives endanger everyone. If the patent system isn't
fixed very soon this might be the death knell of software development in the

[ Reply to This | # ]

5,206,951 is extraordinarily broad
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:24 PM EDT
If you actually read 5,206,951, it seems to claim a lot of things that appeared in Smalltalk in about 1980, and things that were implemented in CORBA and Microsoft's COM. The CORBA 1.0 spec is dated 1991, and IIRC, COM is of similar vintage. So presumably not all of 5,206,951's claims were found valid. Does anyone know what the key claims which are not covered by the "prior art" are?

(Of course, invalidating this patent would not diminish the arguments against software patents. The legal fees already spent on this mess are probably comparable with the entire cost of developing Smalltalk, CORBA and COM.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Its easy to view this as a software only problem, but ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:35 PM EDT
The basic problem is the abuse of the legal system. Enron, Microsoft,
TSG, and more corporate executives every month are abusing the legal
system as a business method. Superficially, everything appears very polished
and state of the art but the machinations are as old as civilization.

These executives have the blessing of the politicians. Maybe, they
have undo influence.

This type of behavior is self limiting and leads to an unstable apex
society that sooner or later collapses into chaos. One can only hope
that the legal system works and the pendulum begins to move towards
a rational application of law before the damage is irreversible (e.g., all
innovation leaves the post industrial, disfunctional apex countries for
places with more efficient and freer societies).

Lets face it, if this threat did not exist, then Groklaw would not be so
widely read.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:39 PM EDT
Your proposal is flawed because today many "hardware" features can be
implemented in software.
For example, OS virtualization, which can be done both in h/w and in s/w, would
be patentable in the former, but not in the latter case.
And what is a processor if not very low-level software? How could CPU
manufacturers protect pipelining and other techniques that require millions and
millions of dollars to develop?

Also, how can one protect investment in things like GUI which require hundreds
of thousands in R&D expenses and that are extremely easy to copy?
With GUI, similarity with two applications can be very apparent so, for example,
when Ximian handsomely borrow Outlook GUI (as they admitted in an interview),
Microsoft should be able to bust them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Patents
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 12:58 PM EDT

I've taken a good look at the patents, and they are ridiculous.


5,206,951 - Integration of data between typed objects by mutual, direct
invocation between object managers corresponding to object types - April 27,

Turbo Pascal chain programs (circa 1988), and the Microsoft "run"
command (circa 1983) predate the patent, and contain 80% of the patent. The
remainder, the "matchmaker" facility is predated by Concurent DOS from
Digital Research (circa 1987).


5,421,012 - Multitasking computer system for integrating the operation of
different application programs which manipulate data objects of different types
- May 30, 1995

Concurent DOS from Digital Research, Desqview (can't remeber who this is from
and my diskettes are in a box somewhere), and Windows 386 from Microsoft all
have features that cover virtually the entire patent. This patent should have
never been issued.


5,226,161 - Integration of data between typed data structures by mutual direct
invocation between data managers corresponding to data types - July 6, 1993

Talk about gaming the system - this is virtually the same patent as 5,206,951
with slightly different language, and would be covered by the same programs.


Now I have no doubt that there are other programs that cover the same features -
I just remembered "Double DOS" which a friend used to use to run his
BBS, and still be able to use his computer.

All of these patents should be handed to the EFF and the Publis Patent
Foundation for invalidation - which I am going to do immediately.



[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Kodak Patents - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 03:17 PM EDT
  • Kodak Patents - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:01 PM EDT
    • Kodak Patents - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 03:48 AM EDT
  • Kodak Patents - Authored by: Ted Powell on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:18 PM EDT
Pam Stop Putting Your foot in your mouth
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:00 PM EDT
Pamela, Lately I've noticed sometimes you get excited and put your foot in your mouth. Another reason software and patents don't belong together is because software is more complex than a cotton gin or whatever else you might typically invent in a bricks and mortar world. There are lots of complicated things that need patents, such as electronic circuits, and yes, sometimes software needs patent protection. Should Intel, Sun or AMD open source their verilog code because you think its stupid, pluh-leaze. Someone who solve's industrial problems using mathematics with a software invention should be afforded patent protection for example. Lots of companies spend lots of money in R&D. The patent system is designed to protect that investment for a period of time and allow the owner to recoup that investment and make a profit. However, this case is stupid, Sun must have stupid lawyers. This is clearly abuse, but don't lump every invention into one category because of your naievety.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What's with all this boycotting talk?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:08 PM EDT
Several threads here have already popped up demanding a boycott of Kodak
products simply because of the bad light this article has shown on them. But is
that really an appropriate response? Kodak is simply trying to find a way to
survive in a world that no longer needs it's core business. Ok, perhaps you
could argue that they made a poor or unethical choice in the way they went about
it, which I won't argue here. I personally see it as Kodak just using the
assets it has to try to stay afloat. The real blame needs to be placed on the
broken patent system that's allowing them to take such action in the first

I for one am not going to boycott them simply for this one case. That's
just emotional over-reaction. Anyone can make bad choices, and this one isn't
any different from what any other company would do in similar circumstances. I
think Kodak is still a pretty good company and probably better than many in the
ethics department. But they will be under more a more watchful eye from now on.
If they start showing a pattern of using patents offensively, THEN will be the
time to call for a boycott.

Of course, this is just my humble opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

m(_ _)m

[ Reply to This | # ]

Opportunity Knocks
Authored by: tredman on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:18 PM EDT
You know, if Sun truly wanted to embrace open source and be a part of the
community (not the community it creates ie. Java Developers), this would be the
perfect opportunity for them to step up. They could earn SOOOOO many brownie
points with open source and free software groups by fighting this and getting
the ball on patent reform rolling.

Of course, I don't think their new Overlords would appreciate them doing that.
Their schizophrenia on which road of loyalty they want to drive on is probably
the biggest reason why they won't fight this on a broader scale. Oh, sure,
they'll do their best to have this ruling turned over on appeal, but they stand
to lose too much by aiming for loftier goals.

It's a shame. They could join the ranks of IBM by being a defender of the
little guy, but that doesn't seem likely.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Paranoid Theory du Jour
Authored by: Czolgosz on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:19 PM EDT
My take on software patents is that it very much suits the government to allow the Patent Office mission creep. A few years ago, the debate was all about how the Internet was going to free individuals from vexatious and arbitrary regulation, how it was going to sqeeze out all sorts of middlemen (remember "disintermediation?") and how it was going to create a new forum for civil society. In other words, it was a threat to authority and the existing social order.

Since it wasn't politically feasible to directly attack these newfound freedoms and conveniences, it was better to gum up the works. And what better means than by opening the door to endless litigation? Then, the Internet could be transformed into a micro-administered global storefront operated by a few large corporations. And, the fewer the control points, the greater the ease of control. Anyway, there's little distinction between the interests of the government and those large corporations it represents, so much of the regulation can be "voluntary" and under the table.

Note that this doesn't necessarily imply conspiracy in the literal sense; only alignment of interests and correlated action.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:34 PM EDT

A great article, but there is a very serious error in it. Parts of the text is clearly aimed at Europe, you are writing " Europe. Are you watching? [ ... ] The same thing will happen to you, if you allow patents at all on software ". Now many european policians if they read that will say (or think), and truly mean it, -But we ain't going to allow patents on software, nobody proposes that. And strictly speaking, they are unfortunatley right. Those proposing "softwarepatents" in europe have been a bit smarter and not so obvious. The ongoing political battle in europe is about if we shall allow patents on the "technical effects" of software...

Everytime europeans speaks to their politicians in favour of the proposal and talks about softwarepatents they do not understand each other, the politician do not want softwarepatents either, and says that software still will be exluded from the patentsystem by the article 52 of the European Patent Convention.
This article says:

The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1

(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods

(b) aesthetic creations

(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers

(d) presentations of information.

This will still be law in europe, with or without the proposal. Politicians in general, well people in genaral do not understand that allowing patents on the "technical effect" of software is the same as softwarepatents, or in cases even much worse. Way to many decisionmakers round the world truly belives that software is industrial, they talk about software industry as manufacturers of software. If you live in the fools paradise and dont understand that software is something you write and that it is immaterial in the same sense as the works you base books on, then it is easy to swallow the "technical effect" line of thinking.

Those in favour of the proposal also says (and belives) that it is just a proposal aiming to harmonize between the EU-counties, some of them also belives it will stop the drift towards US-style softwarepatents (sic!). But all theese countries, and a couple more not part of the EU, allredy is harmonized by the EPC, and have been for a long time. So, where does this "technical effect" come from, and why the harmonization part?

Well, both boils down to the only one not harmonized, the EPO (European Patent Office). In the 80's EPO did not allow softwarepatents, it was harmonized back then, software was exluded from patentability, period. But in the late 80's somthing happend, they changed their guidelines, i think it is based on weak caselaw (a court-tested and passed misstake), now all of a sudden they started to allow circumvention of EPC by dressing pure software in words of a further technical effect. I think that the basic understanding of software in EPO has retired, it is software mysticism that rules now, besides that EPO makes money by granting patents. So they started to allow patents on "technical effects" of software, in plain language, software patents. In small scale at the beginning of course, but just as in the USA it tends to grow like an avalanche. Among the big internationals it works like an arms race, and also has the effect of locking out new startups and their possible new great ideas since you just cant write new software without using earlier ideas. It also creates a new business area, perfectly legal patent extorsion business. Companies that don't develops anything, the only thing they sell is promises that they wont sue you, and there is no real defence against them since they not are developing anything, the big ones can't cross-licence or "counter sue" them.

Patents on the "technical effect" also becomes very broad, just because "technical effect", since that just is another words for what the program instruct the computer to do. If the "technical effect" is sending video over the net, then all ways of doing that can be monopolized, no matter how you do it, and how new and innovative you have ben, you infringe. The patent becomes a patent on solving the problem insted of a patent on a specific technical solution. Innovation at large becomes controlled by patentowners or prohobited.

Theese patents puts the developer responsible for what the third mans computer does when this man, on his own initiative are using a published work. But also, allowing patents on the "technical effect" not only puts developers and software publishers are at risk, plain ordinary users can also be sued depending on the patent in question. Compare to a method patent, hwo infringes? The publisher? The one hwo is tinkering with the method in R&D? No. Only the one hwo actually uses the method in a way that hurts the patent owner infringes. Enter patent on the "technical effect", hwo uses this patented effect? Thats right, sometimes the user, depending on the patent in question.

But we can't educate our politicians by talking about the all the negative effects of allowing patents on information that you only can use or publish, since they belive that they are not proposing that. The education task is a bit more complicated, and small developers, private persons, most small and mediumsized companies just cant argue with "trust us, even if you don't understand what we are saying (the subject matter)". But unfotunatley most ones in favour of harmonizing allredy harmonized EU-countries with a crazy EPO can use precise that line of arguing.

By: Magnus Stålnacke (jemamo HOS

[ Reply to This | # ]

No programmer thinks software patents are a good idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:39 PM EDT
At least, I've talked to dozens of programmers about this and none of them think software patents are a good idea. As a programmer myself, I hate software patents. They make it so dangerous to develop software. Especially for individuals and small/medium-sized businesses, they are basically like expensive landmines strewn across the landscape. Getting sued over a single patent, whether they have a case or not, whether the patent is valid or not--can mean the end of your company.

Moreover, if you get your own software patent(s) they won't be useful against any company larger than yours--since your software is surely infringing a bunch of their patents too and they will force you to cross-license.

Here's the key point, which is hard to get across to people who've never developed software before: PRACTICALLY EVERY NON-TRIVIAL COMPUTER PROGRAM INFRINGES SOME PATENT OUT THERE, and most programs probably infringe dozens or hundreds of patents.

If your business is developing and selling boxed software applications, then (with today's level of software complexity) the application you wrote from scratch, yourself, probably infringes dozens to hundreds of patents out there. Many of those patents are invalid and should never have been issued in the first place--you might get to be the test case! Lucky you, you get to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees proving to a court that the patent you are being sued over is invalid. And I hear you now saying, "why not just do a patent search before you ship your software?" and the answer to that is IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. You might find some of them, but most of the patents are so vague and confusing, and they have so many claims in them (i.e. 50 or more) that you have no hope of identifying all of the patents you are (??perhaps??) infringing. This same vagueness and complexity works against you in court too, making it very time consuming and expensive to prove that the patent is bogus and/or shouldn't be interpreted so broadly as to cover your application. The *only* players who can use software patents profitably are:

(1) really large companies like Microsoft, who waste considerable amounts of money and time on patent-related legal stuff, but can occasionally force other companies to license the patents and make some money that way.

(2) IP-vulture companies that don't have any actual products. All they do is buy patents on other peoples' inventions and then file lawsuits. I think we all agree that these folks are the scum of the earth and the current patent regime cannot justified solely to support this despicable business model.

Everyone else suffers. Individuals and small software companies suffer most, along with consumers (who could pay lower prices on everything software-related if software were not covered by patents). Innovation and competition are harmed. Small, innovative startups that refuse to be bought out, can just be sued out of existence instead using patents.

Most importantly: the entire U.S. tech industry as a whole suffers in comparison to our friends in Europe and Asia. (Though Europe seems poised to join us in our suffering within the next 5 to 10 years...yay! So much for democracy).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Shed *NO* Tears for Sun
Authored by: bobn on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:43 PM EDT
It's a lousy case, no doubt, but Sun is no friend of ours. Maybe losing $1B will get them to stop this nonsense of "shopping" for Linux companies.

Sun is Microsoft's bought-and-paid-for shill. The sooner they die, the better.

IRC: irc://
the groklaw channels in IRC are not affiliated with, and not endorsed by, either or PJ.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak's home field advantage
Authored by: sleadley on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:51 PM EDT
Eastman Kodak Company was founded in Rochester, NY more than a century ago and has been a big part of the local economy ever since. As such, there is considerable local prejudice in favor of Kodak, especially among the older (>50) generations that fondly remember the pre-90's, paternalistic "Mother Kodak" [strange gender mixing there]. Anecdotal evidence:
  • All of my grandparents and many aunts and uncles live/lived in the Rochester area and think/thought highly of Kodak as an employer.
  • Reminisces of a great-aunt who was an executive secretary at Kodak.
  • My brother's father-in-law is a Kodak retiree and believes what is good for Kodak is good for America.
  • I have had three 20+ year Kodak veterans work for me in the last 10 years. They all, even the one embittered by his layoff, mourned the end of Kodak's commitment to lifetime employment.
  • The anger heard in personal conversations and read in the Letters to the Editor columns when Walmart started selling Fuji film in Rochester.
  • 20 years of reading the Rochester Times Union (RIP) and Democrat & Chronicle and listening to Rochester area TV news.
  • Many conversations with personal, social and casual acquaintances.
Also, the jury was impaneled September 13th and handed in its verdict on October 1st. From personal and second-hand experience, retirees tend to be disproportionately represented on juries that sit for more than one week. From personal and second-hand experience, professionals with a background in science and technology (architects, doctors, engineers, etc.) tend to be disproportionately under-represented on juries that sit for more than one week. Thus, a majority of the jury were probably: prejudiced towards Kodak in any dispute, retirees, and lacked a technical background of any sort (esp. in computer software).

What does this mean? I believe it means Sun was doomed as soon as a Rochester area jury got impaneled.

Scott Leadley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun w/o Java -- what's left?
Authored by: Vaino Vaher on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 01:52 PM EDT
If Sun looses Java, then why do we need them at all? Maybe it is time to put
them out of their misery?

Java is well documented and specified. The rest of the world will not be much
affected. We will find ways. But how many american banks, insurance companies
and government agencies can live without WebSphere, WebLogic and Oracle AS these
days!? How much would that harm the american economy?

And SmartPhones w/o Java: They can hardly survive at all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is a Patent on Digital Processing
Authored by: jvburnes on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 02:03 PM EDT
I've just read the primary patent patent 5226161. I can't believe this patent was awarded in the first place.

Since the mechanisms are couched in OO language, a lot of people on this board may not understand the stupidity of this patent. Make no mistake, this patent covers not just Java and .NET, but every emulator ever made, the MIME "helper program" mechanisms in all browsers, nearly every compiler, linker, loader and every interpreter on the planet. Oh, and don't forget every CPU ever created.

It should be no suprise that it covers JAVA, when it covers every digital process ever invented. Maybe that is how Kodak is planning on making money in the future. If we can't compete effectively in the digital photography markets, we'll just patent digital photography by patenting all digital processes.

Think I'm overstepping here? Think again.

Every single "innovation" in this patent was created when Von Neuman machines were created. That patent has definitely run out (if it was ever awarded).

I don't expect this to hold up very long. Hell, the patent is just an object- oriented description of every digital processor ever invented. I'm not a lawyer, but can't this decision be appealed to a higher court?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sounds like SUN did not attempt to defeat the patents
Authored by: skidrash on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 02:09 PM EDT
but rather tried on the defense that SUN had a right to use the patents because
of prior relationship with Kodak?

So in fact it's a bad legal strategy which never touched on whether the patents
are valid or not?

[ Reply to This | # ]

So what's the chance that Sun will come around?
Authored by: Anthem on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 02:26 PM EDT
I mean, it's obvious that software patents are the problem. Is there any chance
that Sun will start saying "Software isn't patentable"?

Probably not, what with Schwarz trying to patent per-person licensing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak "Wins", Sun "Loses"
Authored by: rand on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 02:58 PM EDT
Sun probably tried to play hardball, it would suit their style, but without
knowing the elements of the pre-trial negotiations, we can only guess. If Kodak
tried to extort money only, it is a real shame, and may possibly drive off the
partners they have left.

Most people don't know the real depth of Kodak's prefessional and software
offerings. They may have been left behind by the consumer digital imaging
revolution, but professionals still bet the life of their businesses on Kodak's
professional products. There are labs around the world processing [insert
brand] photo paper in [insert manufacturer] lab equipement using [insert
supplier] chemicals, everything being stitched together by Kodak software.

In the best possible world, Sun would have offered cross-licensing, maybe
low-cost Java licensing, in return for Kodak's migrating their professional
software, such as the KP/DP2 photo lab controller and their Bremson systems, to
Sun platforms. The labs would probably be happy to move from Win200/2003 (well,
WE would, anyway -- make that "willing to"), and Solaris/Java would
get a shot in the arm.

As it is, we get people bad-mouthing both Sun and Kodak. Both are going to lose
something here, especailly Kodak, I fear, as potential allies are driven away
(sound familiar?).

We may never know the background, but I feel the imaging world is going to be
poorer even while Kodak gets a few more years of life.

The wise man is not embarrassed or angered by lies, only disappointed. (IANAL
and so forth and so on)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why is CORBA ORB not prior art to these?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 03:06 PM EDT
Corba 1.1-2.0 define an object system with a set of managers (ORB) that allow
intercommunication between objects. This would appear to be prior art to these
patents. Pam, if you're reading this, please pass that on to Sun

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where are all the pro-Sun, anti-PJ folks now?
Authored by: Nick on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 03:08 PM EDT
Every time there is a story on Sun, the board is full of rants about PJ's comments re: the company. 'Oh, if only she could say one nice thing about Sun I would retract this' they say, as if to imply she is so prejudiced that she would never admit anything good about Sun. Well, here is another example of an article where she points out something good that Sun did. It even has this sentence:

"penalizes Sun for years and years of expense and sweat and toil and creativity by robbing them of their due reward"

With hundreds of comments here, I figured at least one person would have the decency to say that here is something pro-Sun and that they were too harsh on PJ for her criticisms of Sun's behavior (not Sun, their behavior). But so far, nothing. Figures.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 03:22 PM EDT
Here are two actions that I suggest anyone reading this article take

1) Inform Kodak that you are boycotting their products, effectively immediately,
until they abandon this "new business" of attempting to acquire that
which they do not own through the (broken) US patent system;

2) Join the EFF. Do it now. Give them as much money as you can.

- Bozdune

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 03:49 PM EDT
I think this past comment on ./ says it best!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 04:19 PM EDT
Actually, while in one sense "There just aren't enough ways to do
fundamental tasks in software to make patents a good fit. Software is math. How
many ways are there to say 1+1=2?" is true, it is often the case that
software and patents are a bad fit because there is a _large_ bordering on
_infinite_ number of ways to accomplish the same result.

Every time you look at a human creation, and say "that's
_good_" you are making a claim about both the design and
the workmanship. And of the two, the workmanship is the
more important. Poor workmanship will result in something
shoddy however fine the design. However, great workmanship
can and does save the product from minor design errors all
the time. This is true whether you are building chairs, or
car engines, or software. Of course, it is possible to
get the design so wrong that no amount of skilled workmanship can save it, but
for nearly every task you would ever want to accomplish there are a range of
perfectly acceptable designs which will accomplish the desired result.
You pick one and do it.

The sad thing is that in today's climate, when we find something that is _poor_
we have the unthinking tendancy to
attribute it to poor design, when more often or not it is poor workmanship that
is responsible. And people think
that 'if only there were more original thinkers designing
new wonderful things' rather than the more mundane 'if
only the standard of workmanship were higher' then the
world would surely be a better place.

(One place where this is not true is journalism. If the
story reads poorly, the journalist is believed to have
failed in his or her craft, not that, somehow, the story
was 'badly designed').

This distinction has enormous relevance to the patenting of software.There are
some problems -- world peace comes to mind -- which appear to not have a
software solution, but for those that do, they actually have a near infinite
number of solutions,in the same way there can be a near infinite number of
children's stories involving 'a girl', 'a horse', and 'an unsympathetic adult'.

What the patenting of software accomplishes is the patenting
of the _problem_ rather than the _solution_ of a technical
problem. When you get down to the level of code you need a
copyright expert to determine how similar two solutions are.
If Shakespeare and Arthur Laurents were alive at the same
time, could Shakespeare sue Laurents for a copyright
infringement of _Romeo and Juliet_ for _West Side Story_? This is the level
where you need to look if you want to look at code and see how similar one
solution is to another,
which is why copyright is the appropriate tool for the
protection of such creations.

At the patent level, one almost always tries to patent
'the idea of solving this problem with software'. It
doesn't matter if the particular solution is a good one.
The workmanship can be lousy -- and in many us cases,
there actually is no working code at all -- or the design can be bad, but as
long as you have beaten your competitors to the patent office you can wait until
they successfully do what you never could -- and sue them because you had the
wish to have a solution first, and the all-important patent that says so.

One thing that judges apparantly do not know is how easy
it is to make software. The patent system was supposed to
benefit society by releasing into common knowledge valuable
secrets. But for much software there is no secret at all.
You don't need to see the code to understand what 'one-click
shopping is'. Even when there actually _is_ a secret, it
is rarely one that your competitors would pay to see. They
don't care how you solved a problem, because they feel
perfectly competant to solve that and similar problems without any help from
seeing your solution whatsoever, even if they got to see all the source code.

Indeed, in the field our problem is generally the _reverse_;
code reuse is much less than it ought to be within a single project in a single
company, because it is faster to write your own solution than to understand what
the guy in the next cubicle did -- or even notice that it was the same problem
that you have today.

Ah well, enough.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Tyro on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 04:34 PM EDT
How did Sun manage to lose? I feel sure that BC-Algol from the 1960's
(BC=Berkeley Campus) did the same things.

Well, not the fancy stuff...not incremental compilation. BC-Algol was a pure
RPN interpreter, but it asked the OS (hardly an OS, more a monitor
system...still, it loaded libraries in response to program requests) for
services at run time on an as-needed basis. I.e., it responded to programmatic
requests for help. Algol didn't even HAVE any IO statements, as FORTRAN had had
previously. It replaced them with calls to library routines written in
assembler. Which were served up by the monitor system. I forget how control
was passed to and from assembler routines, but it wasn't anything very fancy.
Probably just a store return address and jump. (This was on a 7090/7094 DCS
system, so there weren't a lot of spare registers around. OTOH, there was core
memory. And that's were everything needed to be stored. In predetermined

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 04:52 PM EDT
Do you think we can get Kodak to sue some purveyor of C++
(or some purveyor of DCE) for marketing a product which
does the same thing ? And get the court to say it does ?
And then point out that C++ and DCE predate these Wang
patents :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

What are Sun's Counterclaims?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 05:04 PM EDT

I have managed to find a rather old copy of the docket for this case simply by searching with Google. While it contains little in the way of useful information about the case itself (this is largely because it is dated the day after the case was filed), the front page does suggest that Sun has filed counterclaims against Kodak. The question is, what are they? Do they actually have any chance of succeeding?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Problem dictates solution
Authored by: cballowe on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 05:22 PM EDT
When I look at software patents, I'm always confused as to where the claims pass
the non-obviousness test. In many cases, if you stated the problem that was
solved by the patent and presented it to 10 software engineers/programmers - I'd
expect several of the solutions to infringe the patent.

This isn't because the people In the room have been exposed to the solution, but
rather because the solution is the obvious way of doing things. Good programmers
and software engineers consider efficiency of their methods and can often find
the best path. That tells me that it's not patentable. 99% of programmers
probably think the same way about their work, so only companies trained to think
like that end up with software patents.

This is something that seems to violate the spirit of a patent. Presenting the
problem to 10 people "skilled in the art" would be a good test of
obviousness - in software, far too often, the problem being solved dictates the
solution. With physical inventions or chemical procedures, this may be less
likely the case. The physical world has infinite chemicals and structures to
work with, the software world only has a couple of dozen (at the lowest levels)
and math dictates which combination of them is most efficient.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One does what one can...
Authored by: Tomas on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 05:27 PM EDT
This was just sent by me to Kodak...

Moments ago I discontinued my on-line memberships at, and decided against purchasing another Kodak digital camera and further Kodak products.

Why is this, you may ask (at least I hope someone there does).

One small end-user customer deciding not to use further Kodak products likely makes little difference to a large company's bottom line, especially when you have no actual proof that I'm even in the market for products such as yours (I am).

My reason for shutting my door to further use of Kodak products is the recent ruling favoring Kodak over Sun Microsystems in a case disputing patents.

Sadly, companies who use over-broad patents that ignore prior art to take money they have no right to is a phenomena that is becoming ever more common.

As an end user of many products from many companies, the only way I have to express my displeasure at the corporate greed being expressed by this sort of action is to no longer support companies I have supported for many years.

I realize that my doing so, and even communicating to others a strong suggestion to do the same, will probably not even get your attention, but I must do it in any case.

I have been using Kodak products for both personal and professional jobs for nearly half a century, and it pains me to have to discontinue their use, but I must.

This recent action by Kodak has exposed a side of the company to me that makes me no longer able to support it.


I doubt it will get anyone's attention or make any difference at Kodak, but it make me feel marginally better to at least have tried.

Engineer (ret.)
We miss you, Moogy. Peace.

[ Reply to This | # ]

You're addressing the wrong audience
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 05:40 PM EDT
FOSS rarely innovates, so there's little point in exhorting its adherents to not
burden their work with patents. It's not going to be an issue.

Before you dismiss this as a troll, name me three genuinely innovative and
useful inventions that have come out of FOSS. No, a license isn't an invention.
No, implementing POSIX and calling it Linux isn't innovation. Name me three.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It isn't just programmers that understand
Authored by: RPN on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 05:57 PM EDT
I am not a programmer, engineer, scientist but the first time I heard about
software patents I had to do a double take to ensure I had read right. As for
patenting business concepts ... I can't begin to think of a polite way to
express my reaction to that!

I understand and agree with the orginal premise of the patent but I still don't
begin to see the point of software patents,(or the continual lengthening of
copyright periods); even for the big companies in the long run. The only way I
have begun to rationlise them is greed and self interest and sadly that isn't
confined to software patents in the modern western 'democracies'. I doubt I'm
perfect but I try not to fall victim to both and see rather a lot of them around
me and more with each year. There is a lot of good in the change that has
happened in the world since my teens over twenty years ago but the rise of greed
and self interest is a distinct negative. Software parents, business method
patents, longer copyright periods and rather to much more add to that rise and
the sense of its creeping pervasiveness.

I'll stop now before this turns into a rant that makes me seem an 'old fogey'
pining for 'the good old days'! I'm not that old and really quite a nice guy.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Protecting against Patent Lawsuits
Authored by: UglyGreenTroll on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 06:24 PM EDT
For companies with proprietary software, I know of only one good way to protect against patent lawsuits: don't show or discuss the inner workings of your software. If you do discuss it (for marketing purposes, say), dress up the technology in obscure language so that no one can quite tell how it works.

Of course, companies do this anyway since they want to protect their own intellectual property.

Even if a company is not knowingly violating any patent, this is really the only effective strategy. Patent searches are both ineffective and dangerous - ineffective because there is no way to guarantee that a complicated program is free of patent violations (no matter how much patent searching you do), and dangerous because to knowingly violate a patent can increase the awarded damages. Ignorance here is bliss.

There are at least two instances where this strategy does not work. First, where the violation is obvious from the user interface, and second, when the software code is made publically available as open-source software.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 06:25 PM EDT
just thought ppl would like to know, this article got a mention on Slashdot....
Groklaw Rants On Software Patents

[ Reply to This | # ]

Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review.
Authored by: Brian S. on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 06:35 PM EDT

I found an article here some weeks ago, which covered all this ground and how it
negatively impacts on innovation. I think it was in version V. I cant find it
again. However, there is much in here of interest.

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A question for everyone
Authored by: Jude on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 06:53 PM EDT
Can anyone name any software company(s) that can reasonably attribute their
success to thier patents on software?

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: SCO's next thorny dilemma
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 06:58 PM EDT
I believe SCO's next thorny dilemma is whether to ask for an additional 30 days
extension to respond IBM's PSJ motions on SCO's contract claims (and also IBM's
counterclaim 8)

I believe that any discovery issues relating to IBM Counterclaim 10, are to be
addressed by the rule 56 procedure, and this is the first import of Judge
Kimball's recent ruling. (For those who are have been following discussions on
similar topics in previous stories, I'm firmly IMHO with Marbux on this point -
that Wells will wait on Kimball (for any discovery issues relating CC10) -
rather than the opinion stated by certain others that Kimball will on Wells'
discovery ruling, before be able to rule on Counterclaim 10.

- i.e. whether SCO needs additional discovery to resist IBM Counterclaim, will
depend on whether their rule 56f motion is granted (allowing further specified
discovery on this issue), or whether IBM's PSJ is granted (effectively closing
this particular issue in this case on IBM Counterclaim 10).

But look at the dates that SCO's responses are due to IBM's summary judgement
motion on SCO's contract claims

- SCO's response is currently due October 15th

- SCO can ask, and get a 30 day extension, and get until November 14th

- But Wells' discovery hearing is set for October 19th

So what are the implications?

- If SCO responds to IBM's PSJ on SCO's contract claims before October 15th,
with a rule 56f motion, then by October 19th, rulings on discovery related to
CC10, and the contract claims, fall under the provisions of rule 56

- If SCO gets the extension to respond to IBM's PSJ on SCO's contract claims, so
doesn't respond with a rule 56f until after the October 19th hearing, there's a
potential argument to be had that any discovery seeks on the contract claims
should be supported by a rule 56f motion.

Now, I realize this is a complicated knot, and perhaps SCO will try to justify
their request for all iterations of AIX etc., for other reasons as well - so I'm
not opining how any of this might go - but it does seem like it's another issue
which could make SCO's discovery requests even more questionable (in addition to
the questions that IBM has already raised).

Any intelligent thoughts or commentary appreciated.


[ Reply to This | # ]

A modest proposal...redux...2
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:09 PM EDT
I offered a possible soultion a little while one seemed to be
interested. I offer it again, with the probable same result:

Let the patent system live as it is. Make a change that the patent holder must
pay for all litigation. If the patent is worthwhile (profitable) then the
royalties will pay for that litigation. If is not will the patent-holder bother
with a law suit? In the Kodak/Sun case, Kodak would have had to pay all
litigation costs - with the possible outcome of collecting royalties on software
that is freely distributed. I suggest that that would not be an appealing
prospect, in fact it was only made appealing when one considers that Kodak wants
to collect from a SCOian derivative: hardware. Go ahead and give Kodak their
patent, and let them collect using it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:10 PM EDT
Probably the Pascal P-code interpreter created by UCSD is a good prior-art
candidate. Unfortunately the source is lost so I can't browse through it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun is so stupid
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:19 PM EDT
If only Sun previously made Java into open source, then it could have argued
that this patent would cause a significant public harm, if enforced. But now it
can't use this argument. This is a good example that shows that proprietary
games are bad, both for the society and vendor itself.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A great threat ot America´s software companies
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 07:27 PM EDT
The biggest threat from this decision, is that America´s software companies will
we be chained from developing new products, preventing them from innovating due
to the risk of being sued. In contrast, the sw companies outside the US, will
probably thrive and inflict a lot of market damage to native american companies
because they cannot be sued on basis of a broken patent system. This decision
will in the long run, damage the american local software business, making it
posible for foreign companies to take advantage and gain significant market
power. This will probably lead to a migration of jobs and R&D from America
to these new foreign software companies.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Dark Ages and the Renaisanse.
Authored by: Brian S. on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:05 PM EDT

Before "religious law" took over there was a time of thought, progress
and advancing civilisation in Europe through Greece and Rome and others. Then we
had rules about thought control, the world couldn't be round and we had a over a
thousand years of the Dark Ages.

Weve only had a few hundred years of advancement and now it looks as if
"commercial law" wants another Dark Age.

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: johnarras on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:14 PM EDT
A couple of years ago, there was a discussion about software patents on Slashdot, and someone with the handle Lonath left this insightful comment, which I edited slightly for language, as indicated by brackets:

I am Lonath from Slashdot. I don't post here much, but seeing one of my anti-software patent rants getting posted here makes me want to speak up a bit. There aren't many things that bother me, but the idea that people try to control others expressing their thoughts sickens me.

But, I don't think that anything can be done by trying to reason with people. Since all IP is an economic bargain, the only way to get the IP rules changed is to show people that the current rules cause too much economic damage for things to continue the way they are. I believe that will not happen until a software patent takes down a critical piece of the Internet, and people realize there's a problem.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun is so stupid. Why not challenge the patent due to prior art?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:18 PM EDT
Just as Microsoft lost it's patent application for FAT, Sun could have
challenged the validity of Kodak's patent.

Object oriented languages such as smalltalk had facilities which pre-existed
Kodak's patent. Kodak's patent should have easily been challenged.

Now Sun has only itself to blame. I have no pity on them.

Kodak is a dying company. Just like SCO. I don't even use film any longer.
Other companies make digital sensors and software.

Luckily, patents die after 17 years, unlike copyrights. Just look at the drug
industry. Prozac's patent ran out - turning it from a 4 billion dollar drug, to
worthless drug since generics can be used instead.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Here's another horrible example ...
Authored by: Xymbaline on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 08:55 PM EDT

Lightning Source (OUP's and CUP's print-on-demand agent) loses $15 million
patent suit for "willful infringement"

In March 2004 the late Harvey Ross and his On Demand Machine Corporation of St.
Louis won a long-running patent infringement suit against, Ingram
Industries and Lightning Source Inc., three of the world's foremost
print-on-demand businesses. Ingram and Lightning Source (originally Lightning
Print - OUP's and CUP's agents) had been clients of ODMC's but decided to break
away using Harvey Ross's then newly-developed single-book production technology.
ODMC offered to license the technology on a royalty basis, but when Ingram
refused, sued for patent infringement. ODMC's recent award of $15 million may be
further increased because the jury ruled that Ingram and Lightning Source
"had infringed the patent with willful intent".


The patent in question is Patent No. 5,465,213, issued to Harvey Ross on 7
November 1995, and entitled 'System and method of manufacturing a single book
copy'. The Abstract of the Patent reads as follows:

"A computer based book manufacturing, distributing and retailing system
for the high speed reproduction of a single copy of a book is disclosed. The
system is especially adapted for direct consumer sales since the manufacture of
a selected book can take place at the point of sale. A master module includes a
computer having a database of books to be selected, the books preferably being
stored in a digital book-description format. Upon selection of a particular book
from the database, a single copy of the book (including the text and a color
cover) is printed by means of high speed raster printing engines. The system
includes a binder for binding the text pages and the cover into a book."

WhatTheyThink was told by an insider who declined to be named that the patent is
the only remaining asset of On Demand Machine Corp.


Harvey Ross, who died in January 2002, has also had a contentious relationship
with Xerox over the years. Industry watchers will be aware that Xerox has a
significant sales effort around Books On Demand, and has developed a series of
equipment configurations designed to support that application, with a number of
successful installs including Pearson Education and Perseus Books Group.


A Patent for Books On Demand? An Inside Look at ODMC versus Lightning Source,
Amazon & Ingram

Who would have thought that a patent with the innocuous title "System and
method of manufacturing a single book copy" could become a heavy hammer
hanging over the print-on-demand industry and all its practitioners?

[So get this part, Groklawers]

In 1999, Eakins Press purchased the first BookMachine built for $65,000.
Unfortunately, Eakins was never able to put it into production because of an
unresolved cutting problem. The machine did not cut books squarely in the final
process so none of the books it produced were saleable. It now sits in Eakins'
warehouse, shrink-wrapped, silent, and gathering dust.


The Problem

So what's the problem, you say? This involves the printing of a book from a
self-contained machine in a bookstore, right? Well, that might have been the
original concept. But during the trial, the judge, Mary Ann L. Medler, issued a
Markman Order - an order that defines the meanings of the words in the patent -
that seems to change the meaning of some common words and, as a result,
stretches the reach of the patent.

The judge's instructions to the jury stated that you "must accept the
meanings as I have stated them - whether you agree with them or not..."
There are definitions for two words that are especially problematic.

[I work with these technologies, and I can tell you that this is just a bogus,
or even more so, than the Kodak claims against Sun. Can the legal experts here
describe how a "Markman Order" came into this?]


Elisp 3:51
"He who disregards the Only True Editor or His Documentation strays far
(setq load-path (cons (expand-file-name "~/XEmacs_Rules!/") load-p

[ Reply to This | # ]

Suddenly I feel alone
Authored by: lightsail on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:04 PM EDT
Remember, we all have to work. Here goes:

At work, I write, maintain, and use a partially Microsoft based solution that
apparently infringes these patents. The solution involves a older database
running on HP Unix, a windows PC, MS Office, and a telnet application - Host
The process is simple, COM between the applications, telnet and ftp between the
Unix server, back to a COM process between the applications resulting in
printed reports, and a email message. It's a simple solution given the tools
that are supplied by my company. The trouble is that this process clearly
violates these patents.

MS has a deal with Kodak but that does not offer me any protection. MS only
covers for their own backside, not customers. MS left the users of MS-SQL
holding the TimeLine bag and I expect no better from MS this time. Can you sue
a company for supplying an improperly licensed software product?

[ Reply to This | # ]

When other means fail... use the tax system...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:22 PM EDT
When other means fail, criminals usually meet some justice via the wonderful
world of the IRS... I have to wonder if anyone can conjure up a plan to go
after the IRS for software patent infringement(s), and get a cease and desist
order...? This would have the fastest and biggest effect on the political
dweebs who are in a position to actually fix the laws -- when their source of
funds becomes threatened by the inability of their precious IRS to collect
taxes.... T'would be poetic justice too since the IRS is operating without
legal basis according to many sources.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM Patent counterclaim against SCO...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:35 PM EDT
by itself will make a huge bomb crater in SCO's headquarter in Utah.
IBM will argue something similar to Kodak vs Sun lawsuit: "...SCO's Unix
product lines have infringed our patents for years and we pray for all SCO's
money over the earth...". Probably IBM can ask for more than one billion
damages in trial..., I don't know.
I really think IBM's lawyers are using patent law like an offensive weapon, just
like Kodak do, of course, but for different reasons. I also think, IMHO, IBM
will prevail on their patent counterclaim, whatever happen in the rest of the
lawsuit against SCOundrels.
Here (patent counterclaim), in IBM point of view this is not about innovation or
running a legitime software business, is just about retaliation in defense of
SCOundrels suit.
The patent system law can serve for all posible competitive tactics in industry,
from protect legitimate IP efforts to kill or limit the grow of competing
Folks here in Groklaw can write the very same SUN arguments in this thread in
favor of SCO patent counterclaim and they would fit very well. But there is
something I learn when I was a child, "if the bigger boy is quiet, the
better is let him quiet, because you never know how him will react against

A venezuelan reader.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:39 PM EDT
Maybe if we likened software to buildings, it would work better, at least on the
patent front.

Building parts can be patented, but not the building itself(nor is there really
incentive to do so). Some software professional are software architects, so the
patent office should be able to use that to unconfuse themselves.

It would also enable some companies to patent algorithms and the like, but would
keep patents away from the end user(after all, the end user only touches the
building). It wouldn't afford full protection, but at this point in time, how
can anything not be an improvent?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 09:55 PM EDT
"How is anyone benefitting from this patent cold war?"

Silly question, PJ. Of course, the patent attorneys are benefitting! IP lawyers
all over the country are going "Whoopeeee, the kids can go to Harvard after

[ Reply to This | # ]

What do you know...
Authored by: jbn on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 10:23 PM EDT

RMS is well ahead of his time...again. The LPF was active many years ago and it turns out that the issues RMS was concerned with are coming to the fore now.

If you'd like to read or hear the single most insightful speech I've heard on the danger of software patents, I encourage you to lend an ear to RMS' talk appropriately called "Software patents – Obstacles to software development". He has been touring Europe giving variations on this talk to encourage people to work with the free software community there to oppose patents on algorithms used in building computer software.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tim Berners-Lee Speaks Against SW Patents At MIT Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 03 2004 @ 11:11 PM EDT
You can read about it here:

Web pioneer warns of patent licensing royalty threat

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some good news and some bad news
Authored by: brian-from-fl on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 12:02 AM EDT
My crystal ball, flawed as it may be (in other words, in my humble opinion), has
some good news and some bad news.

First, the good news. Software patents will be, for all intents and purposes,

But next the bad news. This may be done by the government of the legal system in
United States of America and enforced by her government. Or it will be done
because the USA chokes to death on software patents and becomes the
techologically irrelevant backwater and other countries take the lead (and take
it away forever).

Will Europe join the USA as a newly emerged member of the new economic Third
World? Europe plunged itself into the Dark Ages once, and it could do it again.
Will it embrace the sure economic death brought about by software patents and
the arbitrary nature of their granting and enforcement?

The real winners will be the Chinese and the Arab world. As in the Dark Ages of
the past, the Arabs and Chinese kept knowlege and learning alive. (Funny how
Western history describes that period as the Dark Ages when in fact it was not
dark at all to the vastly more enlightened Arabs and Chinese. Yes, funny that.)

I've read many arguments for and against software patents. On the surface, the
arguments in favor are pursuasive and well formed. But they break down quickly
because software is not hardware and its value is in its complexity and ease of
modification. And the understanding of software is missing in nearly every good
lawyer that legislates, grants, defends, and attacks the so-called concept of
Intellectual Property.

I have been a programmer for over 25 years and can design, build, and deliver
complex and highly reliable systems that my customers find compelling. I can
complete the entire process from start to finish in less time than it takes many
programmers and most non-techincal managers to merely be convinced that it can
be done. And yet I only need to hang out at the Boca Raton airport to notice
that my skill does not put me anywhere even within the fringes of the economic
status enjoyed by business owners, lawyers, and other professionals. So it
cannot be argued that I am anything but a standard good programmer. And yet by
comparison, my skills with software exceed those of any lawyer or judge or
legislator by a vast margin. For most lawyers to give an opinion on software
patents is ludicrous. I would be no less qualified to burst into an operating
room and instruct the brain surgeon on his job than a lawyer is to tell me that
writing if (a == b) { load_prgram("a_is_b.exe"); } violates anybody
elses so-called IP, Kodak's vicious and dangerously idiotic claims

Software is more and more a fundamental part of all technology. Indeed, an
old-timer at General Electric's jet engine lab once lamented that "we used
to put computers in airplanes, and now we just put wings on computers.".
SpaceShipOne is a privately funded venture. Space travel, complex weapons
systems, and technological might are no longer out of the reach of any
reasonably sized country in the world.

Software patents are a cancer. Like all cancers, they eventually die. Always.
That is the good news. The bad news is that they sometimes kill their hosts too.
If caught early enough, the host can be cured. If not, the host will die. But
the cancer will always die.

Will the USA remove this cancer from its economic engine? Will Europe embrace or
reject this cancer? Those are important questions to me. But not to the Arabs
and Chinese, traditionally the beacons of steady, unwavering learning and
innovation throughout history. Our brief flash in the pan is threatened by this
cancer. Europe is pondering the contracting of this cancer. But not every
country on this Earth feels the need to contract and embrace this cancer.

I apologize for the long tirade. But this is the next step after SCO, and it
makes SCO look benign by comparison.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 12:37 AM EDT
Genius is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration. A patent is a tool for doing 5%
of the work and then sitting around on your butt and waiting for someone else to
do the other 95% so you can sue them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 01:40 AM EDT
By including a comment in your story that slams Bush ("people get that
confused GW Bush look") you alienated a good number of people that would be
receptive to your otherwise well-written piece. In particular, my dad saw this
story linked on Free Republic and I encouraged him to read it. I'm sure he took
it with a grain of salt when he saw the above mentioned quote. Associating these
ideas on patent reform to some party affiliation is a sure way to make sure they
go nowhere.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 02:44 AM EDT
So easy to reverse this!! Just Read about SmallTalk, is pure objects and objects can query other objects about their methods and look if they can process a request by means of its own methods or delegates to the ancestors without Knowing Nothing about the Data Types.. piece of cake!! Read the SUMMARY paragraph in the patent and compare this to the Libraries provided with SmallTalk 80 (1980) an you will find Prior Art.. This patent application is too broad just like patenting Letters in the Keys of a Keyboard... Method for put Keys in a Board to Write Words in Every Known Human Writing Method

just my too Cents... Linux is for everyone but not Everyone is for Linux...
by litosteel, thanks...

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 02:49 AM EDT
Is not UNIX a form of prior art? It existed before the 90s
and it uses software which ask ather software for help
with tasks. Tape archive software "tar" is a good example.
Exhange system for software if you want.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: kb8rln on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 05:11 AM EDT

Well I had a patent problems with Boeing. Yes the company from Washington state. Over something that I wrote the was software. I got an attorney consult that told me to start just asking questions. Told me to ask what claims the I am using. The email I got back from the author was "Those Da** attorneyes.


To say the lease I learn alot about patent law. Now the software is under the GNU.

Director Of Infrastructure Technology (DOIT)
Really this is my Title so I not a Lawyer.

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This is even more serious than PJ says
Authored by: hopethishelps on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 05:49 AM EDT
This is more far-reaching than people realise.

Read 5,206,951. It clearly covers a lot of things that CORBA does. But CORBA 1.0 was published in 1991 and drafts existed before that ... so is CORBA prior art?

Unfortunately, as someone pointed out, 5,206,951 is a "continuation" of copending application Ser. No. 07/088,622 filed on Aug. 21, 1987. IANAL so I don't really understand the full impact of this, but 1987 predates CORBA.

CORBA is the main cross-platform RPC mechanism. Broadly speaking, it corresponds to Microsoft's COM mechanism, except that there are competing (compatible) implementations, including a free-software one.

If the free-software world could not use CORBA, we would be at a crippling disadvantage vs Microsoft in the large-company world.

Now: Microsoft can certainly afford to license these patents. In fact, it could easily afford to buy Kodak, which has a total market capitalization of only $9.4 billion (that's actually less than Microsoft's current cash holding, i.e. MS could basically just "write a check" for Kodak without having to realize any assets).

Microsoft, therefore, is in a position to blot out free-software competition in large companies in the USA at a trivial cost by its standards, if Kodak's patents survive appeals.

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What is to be done?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 06:04 AM EDT
Dissatisfaction with the current US treatment of the patent system and software
appears widespread. Certainly, in my experience, among a substantial majority of
software developers and publishers - the people who create the 'IP' (whatever IP

It is not a proprietory v. 'open' or 'free' or whatever issue really. The view
appears equally strong among proprietory software developers and other creative
workers -even over in Redmond. As far as I am aware, the opinions of this wide
development constituency are not canvassed or considered by the legislators and
the courts.

Although Groklaw provides an interesting forum for discussions of this big
problem and the consequent lemming-like wish for another dark age, it seems to
me that it would be useful to set up a forum that is focussed on this particular

Ideally this should be neutral as to Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, Free
Software, Open Source etc. to encourage the participation of the large majority
of developers that operates in the real world of the now where at best only 1%
of desktop machines are Linux, whatver our aspirations for the future. Including
those potential contributors who nowadays hit the back button immediately they
spot 'M$' on a page.

Any takers here? I expect not, that is the crux of the problem - we write
software or books because that is what we enjoy doing, not because we are
frustrated in an ambition to be lawyers, politicians or administrators.

Apart from a more focussed discussion venue, any more ideas on what can be

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: gtall on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 06:32 AM EDT
See The Early History of Smalltalk. Smalltalk was one of the paradigm early object oriented software systems. Many of Java's ideas come straight from Smalltalk. One notes that many of Smalltalk's ideas came about in the '60s. I cannot help but be suspicious that Sun could not prevail in this patent case. The imagination runs wild with M$ hovering Voldemort style in the background.

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OT: Where Sun is now
Authored by: Arthur Marsh on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 07:24 AM EDT
see this comment on is one of the most inciteful that I've read lately.


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Authored by: elderlycynic on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 07:42 AM EDT
If the procedure in the Rambus versus Infineon case is
anything to go by (question: is it?), this will be
appealed both in the court and the higher one for a JMOL
overturning it. See

for a saga showing that two wrongs don't make a right,
but they do make for a long-running litigation :-)

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Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 08:09 AM EDT
<q><i>The patents cover a method by which a program can "ask
for help" from another application to carry out certain functions, which is
more or less what Java does.</i></q>

The way you present it, this sounds like AREXX. Or the even older REXX. Or
Applescript. Or any other Inter Process Language. (This is what you described:
an IPL. Not very popular in the Windows/Unix mindset, but rather present outside
that sphere.)

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Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 09:42 AM EDT
There is no doubt. Companies are suing each other, trying to swallow or destroy
the "weaker" ones (sic). It's the jungle out there, a savage world
with no merci. Kodak = SCO. Who is the good guy in this world? SUN? Microsoft?
IBM? KODAK? POLAROID? I think all of them are guilty of their own ambitions. We
could start by not buying Kodak products, but, does that really matter? Today we
feel kind of sorry for SUN (perhaps because Java is at stakes), but yesterday we
were mad with SUN because of its agreement with Microsoft. Its like Ping-Pong.
The ball bounces from one side to another, so our opinion and change of view
too. Let them all destroy each other. At the end of the day, there will always
be a solution. It will be painfull. Linux will inevitably be target of patent
issues, sooner or latter, but everything will settle down.

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The mathematics of software patents
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 11:27 AM EDT

From the article: There just aren't enough ways to do fundamental tasks in software to make patents a good fit. Software is math. How many ways are there to say 1+1=2?

Hello there. I am a programming language researcher.

While I heartily agree that software development is, at heart, a mathematical activity, the above is not a good way to argue against patents.

One way to think of a programming language is as a notation for a constructive mathematics. A program value like "1", then, is a (re)presentation of the abstract mathematical notion of 1. There are many such presentations, for example, in a positional numeral system of base b, for any b. Thus you get numerals in base 2 (binary), decimal (10) and hexadecimal (16). In fact, there is an infinite number of such presentations, many of them not positional (for example, Roman numerals).

Similarly, a program function like "+" is a representation of the abstract mathematical notion of addition. In particular, it differs in that the program "+" operates on numerals (representations of numbers) and not numbers. So again, there are many ways to represent it; for example, addition on base 10 numerals is the algorithm we all learned in school, where you line the numbers up, pad with leading zeros, add each digit and do carrying as necessary. So now we have, for each base, a different algorithm for addition. So there are, in fact, many, many ways to express "1 + 1 = 2".

Of course, all these different notions of addition are related, and once you know how to do addition in two different bases, well, you can basically do it in any base, because the algorithm can be expressed in a parametric manner. You can consider that general method an "idea", which, as you suggested, is patentable. But if you consider that method an idea, then so are all its concrete instances---I don't need to write a Pascal program to describe binary addition, for example. I can do it mathematically with almost as much precision.

Arguing against software patents simply on the basis of, "it's math," is, well, mathematically untenable.

There are many notions of program equivalence. I can say to programs are "the same" if they have satisfy the same specification, for example. More usefully, I can distinguish programs that have different implementations, but to do that you need to have a notion of when two implementations are the same and when they are different. In certain languages, like Scheme for example, there is a well-defined such notion, but most languages are not so well-understood. And when you consider typed languages, like Pascal, say, then there are even more fine distinctions which you can make (because there are notions of equivalence for types as well).

The problem with software patents, IMO, that they are far, far, far too vague. They supply no means for deciding, given two programs, if they are both instances of the method which is described in the patent. The truth is, you cannot judge the equivalence or non-equivalence of two programs without recourse to some mathematics, but courts and patent clerks are manifestly not equipped to deal with that level of technical detail. Even a trained researcher would be hard put to make such a distinction when the program is written in a programming language which is not equipped with a mathematical semantics (which is the case for all conventional languages). When the programs involved are written in two different languages it becomes even more difficult, because first you need to set a standard for comparing them. So, frankly, our technology is not even up to the task of even stating the (non-)equivalence of most non- trivial programs.

In other words, the software patent system is operating in a scientific vaccuum. No informed rational person would make categorical claims in such a situtation. That is why software patents should be rejected.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 12:21 PM EDT
I am in the software industry as well as the patents industry. Should a java
platform be considered for development? This lawsuit is horrible, and will
further push software companies to hire in foreign countries, if not completely
relocate. We may even see software only being sold oversees and not legally
licensed for sale in the US.
I also agree this is about dollars. So we should do all we can to make a
BOYCOTT Kodak products.

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Kodak vs. Sun - Thank You PJ
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 12:32 PM EDT
Thank you for a balanced article on the Sun Kodak decision. We disagree on Sun
and their "threat" to Open Source but this is clearly a bad
development given the importance of JAVA to many. It is also a setback to Sun's
efforts to offer a viable alternative to the Microsoft Desktop.

I would point out that Sun was recently paid a lot of money by Microsoft to
settle a patent infringement case. This will cost them about half of that if it
stands. What goes around comes around.

The problems with the patent system are clear, and they are to the disadvantage
of small companies trying to build a business. Large companies have the
resources and size to make deals with each other to pool patents. Solutions are
not as clear.

Small companies can be attacked without warning by companies with a few
questionable patents. Their suits are difficult to justify defending, because it
is difficult and expensive to challenge a patent at trial, the patent is
presumed valid.

Perhaps Sun will take up this cause and continue to fight on appeal. I believe,
in the minority here, that some software patents might be desirable, but there
need for a higher standard.

It's clear there needs to be legal reform of the patent system which allows the
patents to be directly challenged at trial, at least until the patent has been
tested in court.


"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."

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Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 01:26 PM EDT
Here is one of the few areas I disagree with PJ; Groklaw does have a political
bias, and that bias is against the patenting of software.

Despite my being a software engineer, I have yet to be completely swayed by her
arguments; although I have seen a number of software patents where 4 + 4 = 8 is
prior art, so they try to patent 2 * 2 + 4 = 8, I have also seen several
software patents which seem valid to me (in that they are describing a lot of
high-level functionality that would be almost impossible to accidentally
re-create). Personally, I am more in favor of limiting the duration for software
patents, and requiring that they describe the primary functionality of a
user-level program (as opposed to some tiny sub-method ).

The reason why some may believe that software patents are not a political issue
is because few politicians have campaigned on it. The reason they haven't is
because they aren't aware that there are a significant group of people that are
interested in the issue. If you are, I'd strongly advise the following (and if
you live in the U.S.A., do it /now/, before election day).

1) Write to the appropriate representatives or canidates for representing you
(In the U.S.A, that would be federal- senators, congress(wo)men, president).
Inform them of the basics of software patents, and your view on them.

2) Ask them for their view on the matter. Note that it (is/may be) important to
determine who you vote for (and/or donate money to).

Zimbel (forgot my password)

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 01:37 PM EDT
It just blows my mind how an industry Giant like Sun could loose such an
obviously invalid patent infrigement case. There are tons of prior art floating
around and yet Sun's legal representatives lost this case. Well, to me they
*SHOULD* appeal it to a higher court if the second phase of the defense fails in
Kodak's hometown(very ironic). On the other hand, SUN should fire those who
prepared the defense for them. Hell, even Unix Operating System(as being one of
Sun's flagship products) invalidades Kodak's patents! couldnt those defense
lawyers of SUN ask for little help from Technical stuff for God's Sake. SUN FIRE

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My solution to the Software Patent problem
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 02:02 PM EDT
My solution to the software patent problem is simple. Make patents
non-transferrable. That is, the inventor(s) will be the owner(s) of the patent
until it expires.

Company A's employees come up with this neat little gizmo/method/whatever.
Company A decides it is patent-worthy. They convice the employees in question
to get a patent for the gizmo/method/whatever, and pay the costs in exchange for
a perpetual, non-terminable, free license to use the subject of the patent
(probably as part of the employment agreement).

Company B comes along with a gizmo/method/whatever that performs the same
function. Company A can't sue, only the inventors can.

This also solves the problem of what happened w/ Kodak vs. Sun. Kodak couldn't
have purchased the patent in the first place.

The same should be done with regard to copyrights. Make them non-transferrable,
and deal with licenses to grant the corporate 'beings' the right to fiddle with
the work.

Over all, very little would change on the copyright front, but you wouldn't have
musicians getting sued (and losing) for creating a new song that is too similar
to an older song that they created, but their old lable owns the copyright to.
(This happend, but I can't find a reference right now.)

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The situation viewed from an outsider
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 07:29 PM EDT
I'm brazilian. This is necessary to identify my opinions as an outsider. More
than that: even as I really get frightned about the expansion of USA influence
(e.g. real military and economic threat to anybody that thinks about facing
them) I can see an oportunity to my country in that mess. Since some of our
politics have already made the case that software patents are bad and open
source/free software is good, we may be able to receive large investments in
software devolpment and, problably, some of the largest corporations
datacenters. We will problably sustain that position enough time so USA feels
the pain of doing weird things that unbalances the market. If we manage to
postpone ALCA and such kind of treaties for a while, Brazil can be a safe place
to develop programs and process data. We will get LOTS os jobs and LOTS of
money. I can live with that :)

Sure it's a fantasy writing but feasible. USA (and Europe if they embark in this
sinking ship) will suffer a lot. Now change the names and instead of Brazil use
China. Think about China receiving even larger investments than they are
receiving because they do not follow USA madness (and they do not follow). China
may be the only country capable of facing USA and telling them to go home with
the tail between the legs (imagine a dog that you shouted so loud it has gone
away). China may take away the precious software market from USA, completing the
cycle as they already took away hardware market (industry).

What will USA and Europe do when they lose almost all market to China? Will they
duck their head in the sand and shout all loud that chinese products cannot
enter USA and Europe? How will they do that since almost all electronics
products are made in Asia? How can they afford to not sell to China?

Better they wake up from that stupid dream and start rebalancing the market.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 07:46 PM EDT
interesting perspective []

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Basis for damages?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 10:30 PM EDT

I cannot judge on the merits of this case. IANAL. I am a software engineer, however.

I have read one of the patents, and I believe that it should never have been granted. The technology in here -- if not exactly prior art -- was certainly close enough to the "object factory" concept (introduced as an idea by Stroustrup, I believe, some years earlier) to make this claim's very basis questionable.

But let's assume it's too late to argue the validity of the patent. It exists, and Sun (as well as many others!!) infringed upon it. OK, so now what? Damages, that's what.

I don't recall where I picked this thought up, but I seem to recall that the damages from patent infringement were profits that the infringer 'earned' as a result of infringing on the patent. Metaphorically stated, the court can order the golden eggs that the purloined goose actually laid turned over to the goose's owner.

If this is the case, Kodak has as its largest possible award the profits earned from Java (the infringing product), not their entire product line. To the best of my understanding, Sun has not exactly lined its pockets with the profit from Java. In fact, I'd venture to guess that most of the "profit" from Java has been rather intangible: goodwill, publicity, respect, and similar things. How could a value be placed on these things? I mean, Java (JDK/JRE, etc) isn't even sold -- it's given away. I would also guess that Java has earned very little in terms of licensing revenue, apart from the Micro$not tussle of recent history. Sun did fight the right fight with M$ -- it was about keeping standards enforced. IIRC, there were some monetary damages awarded to Sun as a result of this suit: I guess those could now belong to Kodak.

What says the rest of the community? I say Kodak should get a very minimal award. But I'm sure that Sun's books will be subpoenaed as part of the damages assessment process, and I could be very wrong. Maybe Sun really did make a fortune in revenues directly associated with Java. In this case, I think the award should still be minimal: that part of Java that depends upon the patent I read just isn't 100% of the product. But nobody says an award has to make sense.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: glashoppah on Monday, October 04 2004 @ 11:38 PM EDT
What goes around...

It's hard to feel sorry for those jealous jerks at Sun, who had no problem
joining up with the jealous jerks at Netscape and suing Microsoft. This is what
they get for leading the way into the courtroom for all the
"disenfranchised" who want their "fair share" of someone
else's blood, sweat and tears.

Emboldened by Sun and Netscape's attempted larceny every state and country on
Earth piled on, and MS has spent zillions defending itself, mostly successfully,
against these vile and clueless lawsuits. Meanwhile, money that could have been
used to hire more employees and create new product has been instead flushed down
the Lawyer Toilet. The economy suffers still in reverberation.

Here's another round - but thank Kodak it's Sun getting its just desserts. Reap
the whirlwind.


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What about nfs, portmap and friends?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 01:39 AM EDT
Check out rfc1094.txt (published march 1989):

Sun's Remote Procedure Call specification provides a procedure-oriented
interface to remote services. Each server supplies a "program" that
is a set of procedures. NFS is one such program. The combination of host
address, program number, and procedure number specifies one remote procedure.

Sounds like rock-solid prior art to me...

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Jonathan Schwartz asked for it!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 05:45 AM EDT
Jonathan Schwartz

Thursday September 30, 2004
I Believe in IP

I believe in intellectual property. In my view, it's the foundation of world
economies, and certainly the foundation upon which Sun Microsystems was built.
Copyright, trademark, patent - I believe in them all. I also believe in
innovation and competition - and that these beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 06:30 AM EDT
Somebody forgetting Python ?

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What else could we patent?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 08:45 AM EDT
I guess Eddie Van Halen should have patented his guitar playing techniques.
Norman Rockwell should have patented the "look and feel" of his

Software should fall under the same category as "literary, dramatic,
musical, and artistic works". They can be copyrighted but not patented.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 09:25 AM EDT
>> That's it, I have just thrown the Kodak Cameras
>> I had into the rubbish bin.

> How very silly. You should have sold them on Ebay.
> That way, you reduce Kodak's sales - somebody who wants
> one will buy yours used, instead of a new one from Kodak.

<>On January 13, 2004, Kodak announced it will stop producing traditional
film cameras in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. By the end of
2004, Kodak will cease manfacturing cameras that use the Advanced Photo System
and 35mm films.</>

It looks to me as they have withdrawn, or in the process of withdrawing, from
that market. Though perhaps it would prevent someone from buying their digital

<>Production of film will continue.</>

So the ignorant risk to support the company doing these eval deeds either way.

<>After losing a patent battle with Polaroid, Kodak left the instant
camera business on January 9, 1986.</>

Even in the brick and mortar business "IP" stiffle competition,
prevent research ... but there still exist
some benefits gained by the system.
In the intelectual "IP" business it's only "benefit" is the
potential of ruin the competitor more, a condition that only favors
non-competing predator firms (without a single product)

Wikipedia on OLED (the future display technology):
<>Development of the technology is also hampered by IP issues since even
the basics of OLED technology is heavily patented by Kodak and other firms,
requiring outside research teams to acquire a license.</>

We are lucky to live at the peek of civilization. Science (and gains) have
stampeded while pollution have gained momentum. Actions to freeze developmet in
our culture, to favor those that have a favorable position, spell cold war, for
all. The future may envy the potential prospects we was graced more than our


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ZDNetUK article....
Authored by: maehara on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 09:35 AM EDT

ZDNet UK has their own take on this story here (it's uncredited, but sounds suspiciously like a Rupert Goodwins piece).

Key extract:
Because IP is utterly intangible, it exists only through legal definition – and thus patent law is one of the massive pillars upon which such companies base their arguments. Yet cases like Kodak vs Sun do not say "innovate and be safe": they say "innovate and prepare to be eviscerated by lawyers".

..but the rest is worth reading as well.


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Deterioating prospects for science
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 10:39 AM EDT
>> That's it, I have just thrown the Kodak Cameras
>> I had into the rubbish bin.

> How very silly. You should have sold them on Ebay.
> That way, you reduce Kodak's sales - somebody who wants
> one will buy yours used, instead of a new one from Kodak.

<>On January 13, 2004, Kodak announced it will stop producing traditional
film cameras in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. By the end of
2004, Kodak will cease manfacturing cameras that use the Advanced Photo System
and 35mm films.</>

It looks to me as they have withdrawn, or in the process of withdrawing, from
that market. Though perhaps it would prevent someone from buying their digital

<>Production of film will continue.</>

So the ignorant risk to support the company doing these eval deeds either way.

<>After losing a patent battle with Polaroid, Kodak left the instant
camera business on January 9, 1986.</>

Even in the brick and mortar business "IP" stiffle competition,
prevent research ... but there still exist
some benefits gained by the system.
In the intelectual "IP" business it's only "benefit" is the
potential of ruin the competitor more, a condition that only favors
non-competing predator firms (without a single product)

Wikipedia on OLED (the future display technology):
<>Development of the technology is also hampered by IP issues since even
the basics of OLED technology is heavily patented by Kodak and other firms,
requiring outside research teams to acquire a license.</>

We are lucky to live at the peek of civilization. Science (and gains) have
stampeded while pollution have gained momentum. Actions to freeze developmet in
our culture, to favor those that have a favorable position, spell cold war, for
all. The future may envy the potential prospects we was graced more than our

eW (not logged in due to hardware error on one of my computers). PJ, if this
(re)posting is a duplicate, please delete one instance.

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 11:19 AM EDT
These patents comes from Wang... we are talking about the dinosaur... Wang was
unable to made business with these sources... Kodak too.
Sun has made a wanderful job both original and part inherited by the standards,
other historical languages, OOP, and so on.
Almost every "modern" language is the result of experiences and
"old" technologies.
The sentence "Build on other idea" is at the base of business.

These ex-Wang patents should be considered "old" because too much
general and similar to everything today available on the software market.

We can find simil-code on PowerBuilder, Java, C.
Data Interchange... maybe there is a lawsuit also for X12, UN/EDIFact, ...

Don't open Microsoft sources... they are horrible in general, but also full of
thirdy party codes

They teach to Kodak that it is less expensive make use of other patents then
develop its own technologies...

Their legal office is more big than the development one !!! It costs less, and
they don't have to pay all patents immediately...

Have a nice day :))

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Could this change Sun's mind?
Authored by: amcguinn on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 01:10 PM EDT
a delicious piece of Schadenfreude - Just days after Sun's President Jonathan
Schwartz said 'I continue to believe in the protection of ideas conveyed by
patents [...] As does every company that expects to build a durable asset on
behalf of its investors ...', Kodak wins their software patent case against Sun
which could cost Sun up to half their operating profit between 1998 and 2001!

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Software patents may bug you, but they are justified
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 05 2004 @ 08:20 PM EDT
Mr. Groklaw's paralegal experience was obviously not with an intellectual
property firm.

The observation that there was no enabling legislation to allow software
patents is correct, but the reason is that there was never any reason for
software to _not_ be patentable. It's clearly within the realm of the sort of
thing that patent law protects, and the patent office was just dragging its feet

because it was new
and they needed time to come up to speed with it, develop standards, and
train their staff.

On the other hand, software _copyrights_ were enabled by legislation, and
could not have happened without it, because frankly they do not fall within
the concept of copyright at all and don't make sense. Copyrights are for
protecting the expression of a creative idea--as long as the idea itself or
some useful result are not protected. "Useful articles" or mixtures of

expression and utility are _not_ protected under traditional (pre-software
copyright legislation) copyright. For instance, font design is not copyrightable

because letters have utility; written rules for contests and sports are not
copyrightable, because
allowing that would in effect give a monopoly on the contest or sport type to
copyright owner (only patents can confer such monopolies).

Allowing programs, which mix creative expression with utility, to be
copyrighted has screwed up the whole conceptual framework of copyright;
allowing programs to be patented, on the other hand, is only a natural
outgrowth of the conceptual framework of patents. Imagine the continuum
from typewriters to Monotype and Linotype machines to the IBM Selectric
Composer (with mechanical justificatino) to the Electronic Selectric Composer
(with computer memory) to the early Agfa CompuGraphic typesetters (with
computer memory and logic control), to computer film typesetters (virtually
completely electronic logic controlled with photomechanical exposure of film
from negative font film) to PostScript imagesetters (completely computer
programs like PageMaker and Quark with only the final raster exposure of the
final image being photomechanical). A typewriter and a big hulking Monotype
machine are obviously patentable. At what point in the continuum (and there
were many more innovations and steps than I mentioned), do inventions in
this area become not patentable because they are "software"? Software
is just
the was "stuff is done" these days that we used to done with
devices. New techniques to "do stuff" have arisen many times since the
system was devised, and have found their right place in it (electricity,
chemistry, biotechnology, etc.).

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Translation: spanish
Authored by: algorithm on Wednesday, October 06 2004 @ 07:17 PM EDT
It's late for the thread but I still want to place as reference that I've translated this article: Kodak gana demanda Java contra Sun

Sorry for the delay, it was a bit long to translate and needed some discussion about not placing it on a documentation project under FDL.

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Kodak Java Lawsuit Against Sun - Settled
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 04:24 PM EDT
Rochester, NY Local news is reporting the suite is settled. No dollar figure
but they say it is indicative that Sun knew they had no defense. FWIW, YMMV

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Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 15 2004 @ 09:20 AM EDT
These patents seem to cover the basics of object-oriented technology. That
technology has been introduced a long time ago in Simula. How could such patents
be granted?

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