decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 04:48 PM EDT

They may think this is a happy ending. The Democrat and Chronicle says Sun has decided to settle the lawsuit with Kodak for $92 million. From Sun's press release:

"In exchange, Sun receives a license under all Kodak patents for the benefit of the Java(TM) technology and under the patents in the lawsuit for any and all purposes. The settlement assures customers worldwide that Sun will stand behind its products and intellectual property, and eliminates any uncertainty that could result from a protracted law suit and appeal."

It's a good thing I don't work for Sun. I'd be threatening to quit half the time. I was hoping they would appeal, but no doubt they are thinking of the bottom line, not the big picture, and that is exactly the problem with patents on software. No one can afford to lose a patent lawsuit, so everything is slowly shutting down. Jonathan Schwartz says that he did it for Java and OpenOffice users:

"'Sun's Java Communities represent the future of the Internet. The Communities' vitality, along with the safety of every other open community in which Sun participates, from OpenOffice.org to the upcoming open Solaris(TM) OS community, are of paramount concern to us,' said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer, Sun Microsystems Inc."

Patents are threatening to destroy the World Wide Web, according to Tim Berners-Lee, and software patents will destroy the software industry. It never hurts to repeat this quotation from Bill Gates:

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete stand-still today. The solution . . . is patent exchanges . . . and patenting as much as we can. . . . A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high: Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors.” -- Fred Warshofsky, The Patent Wars 170-71 (NY: Wiley 1994).

"A complete standstill." "Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors.” And please don't tell me that they don't know. So, if you care about Linux, about GNU/Linux systems, be aware that software patents are a weapon established companies use to exclude future competitors. That couldn't be more clear, could it?


  


Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million | 347 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections
Authored by: WhiteFang on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:17 PM EDT
Corrections here please

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 06:04 AM EDT
OT Stuff
Authored by: WhiteFang on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:19 PM EDT
You know the drill

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: WhiteFang on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:22 PM EDT
Doesn't surpise me in the least.

McNealy, in my not so humble opinion, has finally shown himself to truly be
nothing more than a money grubbing parasite. I feel deeply sorry for all the
fine people who work at Sun.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Knowing vs. Unknowing Infringement
Authored by: ansak on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:25 PM EDT
Doesn't knowing about this case turn using any of the following from unknowing
to knowing infringement?

a) out-of-process OLE or CORBA call
b) any kind of run-time bound interprocess communication

What's the date on this Kodak patent? Does anyone understand whether the
inetd.conf method of invoking servers to answer calls on specific sockets could
possibly qualify as prior art to that patent or not?

If this message gets yanked because it would be dangerous for other readers of
groklaw to read, I would totally understand. I'm just looking for real answers.

what a world! cheers...ank

[ Reply to This | # ]

Troll Bridge and/or Humour
Authored by: WhiteFang on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:26 PM EDT
Wannabe Ogres, Orcs etc.

Though one would think that such would have better to do than post here and be
thoroughly shredded.

As for Humour - I declare all humour posts in this article to be limerick
based.

:D

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patents Suck
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:27 PM EDT
“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s
ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a
complete stand-still today."

That much I agree with.

"The solution . . . is patent exchanges . . . and patenting as much as we
can. . . . "

If you have the money and the will to fight. Microsoft did not have to fight
this way back in 1991. That is not how they rose to power. So how can one be
certain that more patents will help a company win? It won't. It is a lose-lose
situation.

Kodak played a card, maybe even bluffing, and won. SCO is losing because IBM and
the like are not settling. They are fighting for the truth. This could bite Sun
in the rear later. Anything that can be bought and has a market worth is
eventually bought and controlled by Microsoft. Maybe Microsoft would like to buy
the patent, no that this help prove the case for it? Then they can put the
screws to Sun.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Clarity on patents and competition.
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:29 PM EDT
"...So, if you care about Linux, about GNU/Linux systems, be aware that
software patents are a weapon established companies use to exclude future
competitors. That couldn't be more clear, could it?..."

Well, its nice to know that Big Bad Bill practices what he preaches.

---
(GL) Groklaw Lurker
$ echo "Darl" | sed "s/arl/ick/"

[ Reply to This | # ]

The fix was in
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:30 PM EDT
There is no way Sun would have rolled over so easy on this if they hadn't got into bed with MS.

The patent needs to be overturned anyway even with this obvious attempt to make the patent appear valid.

[ Reply to This | # ]

If java infrindges....
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:57 PM EDT
Then tomcat, IBM's java and probably even c# have potential problems with Kodak.
And then there's python, php, perl and others, since I don't know what the
claims are for the patent, I can't say with certainity, but I doubt this is
over. It's probably just the first of many. Of course, I doubt Kodak wants to
get into an IP dispute with IBM, after all they would be bringing a plastic fork
to a gunfight. But that still leaves a lot of territory to cover. And after
enough president for their patent, even IBM might be a possible target (but of
course, IBM has enough patents that i'm sure Kodak probably infrindges
something, probably lots of somethings of IBM's).

I still don't understand how a patent can be issued on something which doesn't
have a working, physical, demonstrable implementation.
Cecil

[ Reply to This | # ]

So who's next?
Authored by: Prototrm on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:01 PM EDT
If Kodak now goes against Microsoft's .Net, it may be another case like the
Eolas patent where we're glad to have the 800 pound gorilla standing in front of
us.

I can't help but wonder, though, if there's anything in Unix, OS/2, or AmigaOS
that would qualify as Prior Art. All of them did pre-emptive multitasking and
used inter-process communication to allow unrelated programs to talk to one
another, and "get help".

(I, ANAL!)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Death of Java
Authored by: overshoot on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:03 PM EDT
This pretty much kills Java, since apparently Sun didn't go for reassignment rights. Anyone not purchasing their Java implementation from Sun is on their own against Kodak's patents.

Shutdown Blackdown.

Bye-Bye, Big Blue.

Go Home, Gnome.

Don't Monkey with Mono.

Either you get your Object Requestor Broker from Sun or MS (not by free download, either, but by paid purchase) or you're waiting for the process server to knock.

In the case of Mono and Gnome, it's just plain death because they're built from the ground up on ORB and they're licensed by GPL -- which is incompatible with Kodak's requirement for patent licenses.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents can kill Linux, and FOSS
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:16 PM EDT
PJ is absolutely correct on this issue.

Patents can kill Linux by walling it off in isolation.

The danger can not be understated!

When the preception that money is at stake, businesses will do anything to
protect it. Don't believe me, just look at the list on antitrust cases over the
years. Where do all of the lobbyist, and pac come from? Why? Because patents
protect the idea, not just the implementation, they have the effect of total
ban. The ultimate IP protection, a legal monoply!

Look at Sender ID, Microsoft is hinting they will deploy it anyway!

Copyright has never been a real threat to Linux, only patents are!

Hoping somdeday that patenting software will be illegal!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software patent lawsuits always settle
Authored by: billmason on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:26 PM EDT
I've noticed that software patent disputes are always settled out of court. It
seems most software patents would fall flat on their face if actually tested in
court. This makes it very hard to establish precedent cases to work from, and
even harder to point to as examples of the absurdity of many software patents or
why software patents are bad.

[ Reply to This | # ]

We can no longer expect others to fight for us. Request reexamination proceeding from USPTO
Authored by: NZheretic on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:40 PM EDT
Dispite much existing prior art that implimented in publicly used software, the Kodak patents enclose a wider field of software engineering than the plugin patents of Eolas and Microsoft's FAT patents.

In both latter cases, the USPTO revoked the patents after a public outcry and submissions from the W3C and the Public Patent Foundation. It's time to procceed with gathering evidence with support from groups such as Object Management Group™, to put forward a request for an reexamination proceeding to the USPTO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent on Integers
Authored by: n5yat on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:45 PM EDT
This latest suit between Sun and Kodak reminds me of
this great set of stories from last year:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/11/24/numbers_to_be_patentable/

If things keep going this way, reality will trend towards the imaginary absurd
situation...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Question about patent dates
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:50 PM EDT
I seem to recall that the length of US patentswas changed from "17 years
from when the patent is granted" to "20 years from when the
application is filed". How does that work in a patent like this, where the
patent application was a continuation of something filed in 1987? Does the
patent expire in 2007? Or 20 years from when the continuation was filed? Or
was 1987 before the rules change (as I suspect), and therefore the application
is grandfathered to use the old rules?

MSS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Jude on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 07:25 PM EDT
This situation doesn't seem right to me. First, Sun doesn't show any signs of
trying to get the patent(s) invalidated. Then they agree to a settlement less
than a week after losing the case, and the settlement amount is surprisingly
low. I'm amazed that Kodak would accept such a small amount in return for
waiving the infringment claim *and* licensing their wonderful IP on an ongoing
basis, especially since they must know that Sun just got a nice wad of cash from
Microsoft.

I get the feeling that we (or at least I) don't know what's really going on
here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: datacare on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 07:41 PM EDT
The software patent battles are just the latest in the havoc that has been
wreaked by misused patents. Tucker and his automobile were hounded by patent
problems. Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of much early radio technology,
including FM commited suicide during the lengthy battle with RCA over patents.
The battles of early film makers with Edison, and the move to California to hid
has been reported here before. It seems that once an industry has historically
reached a certain size and economic status, patents, patent pools, and cross
licensing is used to lock the door to keep out new players and innovations. This
is just on of the latest examples.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is this the first volley in the patent wars?
Authored by: fdruseikis on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 07:50 PM EDT
Here's a patent (it has been mentioned) that MS already
settled.
Now Sun is settling for a similar amount.

In short, Java and .Net are "legit". Gnome -- who knows?

So, *No* suit/settlement just increases the cloud of
anti-FOSS FUD.



[ Reply to This | # ]

A pretty broad brush, I'd say
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 07:51 PM EDT
"So, if you care about Linux, about GNU/Linux systems, be aware that
software patents are a weapon established companies use to exclude future
competitors."

This sounds like a broad condemnation of established companies. Was that the
intent? Are you ignoring the fact that IBM has already gone on record saying
that it would only use its patents for defensive purposes?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents - too broad
Authored by: Dr. Zee on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 08:19 PM EDT
I have now followed the various discussions on patents not only here but also on
other sites and have heard numerous of menings of the flawed patent system in
the US (btw. I'm from Europe).

The general problem with software and patents is not that software and patents
do not mix - but that the patents or rather the patent system allows patents on
"methods". The term method here must be read with broadest
interpretation possible!

Let's take some examples:

1. The Kodak Patent: "A method that allows computer programs to 'ask for
help' from other programs when needed" (someone got the link to the actual
patent and can point to the exact wording of what the patent is supposed to
cover?).

Now they only targeted JAVA this time ...... but if the above is the true
"wording" of the patent and that is referred again by the judges
decision would that patent not virtually cover ANY aspect of software and IT?

Let's take a word processor ..... when I want to save something the word
processor will call the OS to perform the save function in question. The OS is a
program like the word processor - where is that different from what JAVA does
when it makes its calls?! Clearly the word processor need the "help"
of the OS to save the file ........... otherwise we wouldn't needs the OS and
the word processor would be a OS of it's own.

A other example could be the a Internet Browser opening Adobe Acrobat to display
the PDF or how about a Game opening the driver for the 3D display adapter - or
even direct X .... I could continue on and on and on and on ......

(hmm ..... I don't hope this gives Kodak any good ideas .... or actually I do
.... for them to attack the way programs and OS's work together would clearly
show that the patent is PRIOR ART and thus invalid)

Many of these "method" patents (as I call them) are simply to broad in
definition and should NEVER have been granted.

2. A example of a patent that is ok for software because the patent is specific
and exact.

Let's say I invented a new algorithem to compress sound files that 1 minute of
high definition music only take about 1 kb of data (I think today the average is
about 1 MB in a reasonable quality). I would then likely want to patent that
algorithem (or method actually because a algotithem is just a other word for
method) to protect my years of research, testing and tuning and allowing me to
license the algorithem for comercially use (eg. someone want's to make a
playback device and sell it - iPod - or a comercially software player of some
kind for the various OS's etc.).

The same goes for inventing a new picture compressing format that could be of
great use for digitial movie cameras, DVD's etc.

The difference here of course is that the patent definition is clear and
describes an EXACT method - not some general blabering about something.

Also it would not matter what OS programming language etc. you would use to
implement the algorithem not even how it ends up looking in program code (which
might be different in the various languages also dependin on if you are a gifted
programmer or just the new "kid" - there a different ways to implement
a linked list some ones perform faster then others ....)

In short in example 1 a patent is not OK in 2 it is ....

Just my 5 cent's

Hit me :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 09:00 PM EDT
Deep pockets... fresh from a settlement with Microsoft.

But doesn't this start to build a barrier to entry for
any small start-up? That's the crime of these elephants
dancing through the legal system and the wisdom of IBM
refusing to pay extortion money for bogus IP claims...

I would inside Sun for 12 years and the business minds
we're effectively mining the Open Source coffers that
Unix created... Bill Joy made nice contribution to
computing with NFS but mostly they (Sun) bungled the
opportunity to create massive volume around Unix & java
by promoting business people that had more in common with
Wall Street Greed merchants than Technology evangilists.
Ed Zander as a prime example...

Sun isn't actually evil these days... just clueless...
both technically and financially.

Andy Bechtoldsheim is back through another round of start-up
acquisitions... a company that designed AMD Opteron systems.
But no one effectively listens to Andy...

Jonathan Schwartz was also an acquisition hire... a company
that wrote an Office Productivity Suire for the NeXT Computer.

- McD

[ Reply to This | # ]

SUN doesn't want to play the patent game anymore
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 09:59 PM EDT
This off The Reg (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/07/sun_open_source/):
Simon Phipps, chief technology evangelist at Sun, warned of the risk that forthcoming European patent legislation could pose to innovation in open source development and elsewhere in the IT industry. He is meeting European politicians next week to lend Sun's weight against the introduction of US-style patent laws in Europe. "If we can fix things in Europe it will put reverse pressure on the US. If nothing is done, bad laws will come in by the end of the year," he said.
So, now that Sun and MS looks like getting ready to go to bed together, is Sun going to preach the gospel to MS?

[ Reply to This | # ]

OSRM accuracy test?
Authored by: grahamt on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 10:55 PM EDT
Question to anyone who has seen the list of 200+ patents that threaten Linux -
do these Kodak patents appear on that list?

[ Reply to This | # ]

There is no escape!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:08 PM EDT
I have made my living programming from when I was 19 to my current age of 45. I break the law every day by writing lines of code that somebody somewhere has patented. There is no way anyone can actually research patents due to the shear volume of the things. Not even a large company can develop anything by researching patents. The only way to survive is to patent every line of code you write (don't bother checking for prior art - no one else does - and prior art is almost guarranteed, it just might not have been published because it was so obvious) and amass a portfolio which you can cross license. Since all software patents are equally bogus (with a few exceptions like RSA), and there's no way to avoid using them anyway, the only thing that matters is the size of your portfolio.

So, I figured when I was no longer allowed to write code, I would open a restaurant, as my friends have often suggested. When to my horror, on the heels of Sun caving to Kodak's extortion, I find that taste and smell is next.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Boycott
Authored by: epcraig on Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:16 PM EDT
Do as you will. I'm not buying anything
more from Kodak.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Donate to PubPat!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 12:02 AM EDT
Donate to PubPat! I just did. They need the money. What we need is to build
up PubPat as a decently large lobbying and patent challenging force. Only one
thing can do that: cash.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can somebody explain?
Authored by: davcefai on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 01:03 AM EDT
I know nothing about Java. In BASIC one can write:

variable= executable_name + Command_line_parameters
x=Shell(variable)

whereupon the executable will be launched and run. So, for example you can run
the program which will write a result to a file. The launching program can then
read the file and carry on working.

What does Java do, in regard to "helper applications" that makes it so
different to this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Call to Arms: Vote with Your Wallets - Flush out the Villians
Authored by: dodger on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 01:14 AM EDT
The Settlement between SUN and KODAK is WRONG. Both parties have validated a
system that is broken, sick, untenible. Both are GUILTY of perpetuating, not
innovation, but DISEASE.

When we talk about 'Darl', LET IT BE SYNONOMOUS WITH SUN.
When we talk about 'McBride', LET IT BE SYNONOMOUS WITH KODAK.

We must move into the realm of public relations. M$ is sleeping with SUN,
VALIDATING a sick system, which perpetuates their MONOPOLY, which is growing to
include IDEAS. KODAK used to make cameras and film. Now they are in the business
of litigating their 'Intellectual Property' which brings NOTHING NEW to
humanity.

Remember how quickly SUN and M$ snatched up licenses from SCO?

See how quickly KODAK and SUN snatched up a settlement?

This is all orchestrated.

They call it 'Intellectual Property', but in fact there is NOTHING INTELLECTUAL
ABOUT IT. It is a CANCER in society. It is a loophole for CROOKS to steal
money.

No more SUN boxes. No more Solaris. No more KODAK film.

Viable ALTERNATIVES: AGFA, FUJI, LINUX, IBM.

[ Reply to This | # ]

These patents are now validated?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 01:46 AM EDT
The biggest threat with these situations is when the parties use phrasing such
as:

"We are pleased that the court has validated these fundamental Kodak
patents"
Source:
http://news.com.com/Sun+settles+Kodaks+Java+suit+for+92+million/2100-1012_3-5401
804.html?tag=nefd.top

Now the rest of us are supposed to drop whatever this patent covers if we happen
to be using similar concepts in our code?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun wants software to be patentable
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 02:05 AM EDT
Ever since Sun said

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/01/1627236
"our world, you will subscribe to the software and the hardware is
free."

it seems they've been trying to help the efforts of proprietary software. And
who can blame them - if they're planning to give away chips and motherboards and
powersupplies for free, they'd have to pay for it somehow.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Contradiction to what Sun said at LinuxWorld Expo..
Authored by: eamacnaghten on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 03:30 AM EDT
I have just returned from the LinuxWorld expo at London UK. Here I listened to a keynote by Sun's Simon Phipps (His title is Chief Technology Envangelist) that he gave at about 11.00 AM on the 7th october (UK time). In it he mentioned that the Kodac trial was far from over, and there was still a lot to happen. He obviously did not know of the settlement with Kodac (which would have either been agreed or at an advanced stage at that point).

I cannot believe he, or too many other technologically oriented people, at Sun are too happy with this. I have met a few people who used to partner or work for Caldera but who left as soon as the IBM shinanigans started simply because they did not like their company making them liars. Sun's success is largely due to the loyalty of these types of people, if they move too far in this opportunistic non-technological direction they will find good people deserting them and, Microsoft deal or no Microsoft deal, and regardless of their current bank balance, they will find themselves on the slippery pole to oblivion.

Web Sig Eddy Currents

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good for SUN
Authored by: Vaino Vaher on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 04:02 AM EDT
Kodak's patents are un-challanged. That means that any attempt to create a
OpenSource Java implementation will have a patent threat hanging over it. 92M$
was a bargain for SUN; now the patents work for SUN, not against it.

(This is only a problem for you americans. The rest of us will prosper without
worrying about your silly patents).

[ Reply to This | # ]

A masterstroke by Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 04:51 AM EDT
This is a masterstroke by Sun, aimed at the heart of its most dangerous competitor, free software. Sun realized that it was in Sun's interest for the patent to be upheld.

CORBA infringes the Kodak patent, on the face of it. That means free CORBA is locked out of big companies, which means that Linux is locked out of enterprise computing. All free implementations of Java will be locked out, too.

I predict that Microsoft will license the patent from Kodak (if they haven't already). They are big enough to squash Kodak in a lawsuit, but why should they? By supporting Kodak instead, they can squash the threat from free software.

Pubpat is too small to help. Kodak has just collected $90 million from Sun; that's probably more than Pubpat's entire resources. If it needs more, Microsoft will be happy to buy more patent licenses from Kodak.

This is the most serious threat to free software we have yet seen. And I don't see any worthwhile ideas here for dealing with it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The big picture
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 04:56 AM EDT
I was hoping they would appeal, but no doubt they are thinking of the bottom line, not the big picture, and that is exactly the problem with patents on software.
The big picture is the millions of Java users out there. Sun chose to pay the price to minimalize the impact on the Java community. In my opinion this is a greater good then fighting (and probably winning) the case at the cost of month if not years of uncertainty for the entire community. Sun does not have a financial stake in Java but in the Java community and there is no denying that this choice is the best one for the entire Java community.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • The big picture - Authored by: Jude on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 05:28 AM EDT
  • The big picture - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 08:41 AM EDT
    • The big picture - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 10:01 AM EDT
      • The big picture - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 10:34 AM EDT
How does this affect me?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 05:04 AM EDT
How do US held patents affect individuals in countries other than the one in
which the patent is held?

Are patents limited to their country of registration?

I live in the UK (someone has to), how does Kodaks patent affect me? If I were
to develop software that would infringe the patent if distributed in the US, and
only allowed it to be distributed in the UK, could I be held responsible for
infringing the patent? (Assume that no copies were distributed in the US, and
the only copies were in the UK).

Can Linux die if the US held patents have enough clout, or could it survive in
other countries where the patents can't get to it, China say?

My personal opinion is to sod the lot of them, I hate monopolies and I hate
being bullied. I hate buying something only to find I have no control of that
something. Greed is destroying the world we live in, nobody thinks past today's
cash or for the good of all, except for a few lonely voices. It's all very sad.

Steve.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Mike Calder on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 05:23 AM EDT
All my software licences and contracts now contain a standard clause, which I
present for your interest. You may wish to consider something similar for your
business endeavours - check with a lawyer for appropriate wording for your
particular jusrisdiction - I'm not in the USA, obviously.

PARTIES SUBJECT TO JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Where any party to a contract with xxxxx is situated in or is subject to or
performs any act under any jurisdiction of the United States of America that
party shall indemnify and hold xxxxx harmless from any action extra-territorial
or otherwise of any third party including but not restricted to government
agencies of the United States of America with regard to copyright, copy
protection legislation, infringement or other violation of software patent, or
other intellectual property restrictions or legislation, and any costs arising
from such action.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 06:05 AM EDT
Concerng this patent :

A. Can Groklaw publish it
B. Can the Groklaw community start a search for and a discussion about prior art
on this patent
C. If prior art is found can we contact Pubbat and supply them with the results
and then hopefully revoke the patent


[ Reply to This | # ]

Just proves that what Sun *does* isn't necessarily what it *says* it will. n/t
Authored by: cybervegan on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 06:50 AM EDT


---
Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Consequences of not playing nice
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 07:02 AM EDT
I saw an interesting ad for a 4 MegaPixel digital camera for €200. Then I saw it
was a Kodak. And decided to just wait for the next promotion (of another brand).
Others probably will (have) act(ed) the same way?

Is it possible to somehow estimate the impact of this behaviour (upsetting the/a
community, thus loosing potential or real customers)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Those Patent Numbers
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 08:39 AM EDT
Hi all,

As I have not seen anyone post this I thought I should. Here are the three
patents in question. I had a quick glance at them but my head began to hurt
after the 20th mention of object managers.

5,226,161
5,206,951
5,421,012

Regards,
Duncan

[ Reply to This | # ]

Even the M$ loving ZDNet doesn't like it!
Authored by: AndyC on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 08:46 AM EDT
Linkie

The talkbacks could get interesting too...

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Novell-52
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 10:14 AM EDT
SCO's memo in opposition to Novell's motion to dismiss

Quick summary of some main points:
- SCO claim copyrights transfered with APA
- SCO say they have sworn testimony from Novell's chief negotiator supporting
same
- SCO argue that even if Novell had a meritour legal position, it doesn't
demonstrate "good faith" (and lack of malice) as that is question of
Novell's state of mind, a fact for the jury
- SCO argue Novell's statements not priviledged
- SCO argue Novell's statements, even if priviledged, the priviledge would not
apply to statements to the general public
- SCO argue Novell didn't raise lack of malice in first motion to dismiss, so
can't use this defense in 2nd motion to dismiss
- Repeat of allegations made in Darl's June 6th letter to Novell, that Novell's
actions caused share price of SCOX to fall 30% and securities issues
(Personally, I don't see how this is relevant, because this doesn't appear to
link to their complaint)

Parties have stipulated Novell has until early November (I forget the exact
date) to reply.

Quatermass
IANAL IMHO etc

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where are the free-market advocates?
Authored by: Woelfchen on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 10:30 AM EDT
I am always very surprised that the ubiquitous call for a free (and
de-regulated) market is silenced when the talk is about (software) patents.

I still do not understand why the European Union is planning to implement that
in a flourishing market that works fine without.

------
Q: Mr. Hawking, do you think there is intelligent life outside of the earth?
A: I do wonder whether there is intelligent life on earth!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bill Gates quote
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 10:51 AM EDT
IBM has donned the white cloak in the SCO attack on reasonable treatment of IP
issues for software development. Surprising that the lumbering giant through
this and other moves in Linux/Open source etc. has garnered so much
acclaimation.

Bills quote here does represent much of Microsoft thinking in the past on the
foolishness and damaging consequences of an ill thought out patent regime for
software in the USA. In the past, patents were definitely taken as a defensive
measure in Redmond. I can't say what current thinking is - anyone here tapped
into the grapevine?

Is it possible that Microsoft can be encouraged to use its commercial strength
to back the movement away from the current iniquitous (and apparently
unconstitutional) patent system?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Mill
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 11:14 AM EDT
"Late Thursday morning, a document appeared on the docket stating the two sides had settled their case out of court. Shortly thereafter, Judge Michael Telesca of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester signed an order dismissing the case, "with prejudice," which means Kodak cannot file the lawsuit anywhere else without risking a dismissal of its claim. The court will also oversee the "effectuation" of the agreement, according to the court document."
Kodak did not care too much about these patents, to let the case go so easy. Kodak was making nothing from the patents, this brings in some needed cash. These patents should be made invalid by prior-art, because trusting SUN is asking for problems.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vested interests in our current patent system...
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 11:21 AM EDT
As I have come to understand it, some years ago IBM decided to leverage it's
gargantuan patent portfolio by seeking licensing agreements with companies that
it considered to be infringing or possibly infringing. Over time, IBM turned
their patent department into a revenue generator and an annual billion dollar
plus business.

Having watched this from afar, Microsoft decided to emulate IBM and began
restructuring it's patent department to become a revenue generator as well -
which meant, among other things, vigorously pursuing as many additional patents
as possible.

As friendly and beneficial as IBM has been towards FOSS, they will inevitably
find themselves impaled on the horns of a dilemma on this issue. As a public
corporation IBM has a fiduciary duty to it's stockholders to maximize their
return on investment.

As an hitherto benevolent friend to FOSS, IBM may soon find it's policy towards
patents in conflict with the same community that views IBM so favorably today.
This favorable view by the members of the FOSS community directly and indirectly
results in a considerable revenue stream for IBM through hardware and software
purchases and recommendations for purchases. We are the data center folks IBM
has historically formed close bonds with.

It remains to be seen how IBM will resolve this conflict.

---
(GL) Groklaw Lurker
$ echo "Darl" | sed "s/arl/ick/"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Remember Token Ring? Old IBM play.
Authored by: fgoldstein on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 11:27 AM EDT
I think Sun is taking a play from the old IBM playbook. Not the warm cuddly
pro-Open Source IBM of today (strange thought, in historic terms, but they've
got their reasons) but the old IBM of the 1980s.

When Ethernet was first coming to market in the early 1980s, IBM opposed it,
with massive FUD about its lack of determinism. IBM's answer was the Token Ring
(802.5). Your basic Blue shop thus pulled Token Ring all over the place. But
while the Ethernet card business was very competitive, and the price moved down
into commodity land pretty quickly, Token Ring card prices stayed high. This
was largely because of an alleged patent on the technology. IBM, it seems, had
paid a few million clams to some guy (Olof Soderblom) who claimed to have a
patent on it. This was widely reported in the press, so the card vendors stayed
away in droves, rather than take a costly license. Ethernet's license terms
(Xerox held the patent) were, uh, a whole lot freer.

The press today still assumes that Soderblom's patent was valid; a 2003
Economist article refers to it as "a rival technology, the token-ring
network created by a Swedish inventor called Olof Soderblom". But I did
actually read the patent when it was fresh. It doesn't talk about token ring at
all! It is about a polled multidrop network with a movable master. Sure,
that's kinda sorta like a token bus, but it was a stretch to apply it to TR.

But IBM <i>wanted</i> the patent to apply. They were willing to pay
their 3%, knowing that it would keep out low-margin competitors. And it worked.
IBM's share of the token ring card business remained high, right up until the
total market size fell to its current level, which is approximately zero.

Sun may remember what the first clause of that last sentence was about, without
remembering the rest. Token Ring, however, was a crock in the first place,
easily replaceable by Ethernet. Java is going to live on, even if it takes
somebody else to fight the patent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

An idea to help solve the patent problem
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 11:43 AM EDT
I just had an idea after reading this. It's not a panacea, like retracting all
software patents would be, but at least it would be a step in the right
direction. My idea is to simply require that any patent dispute that goes to
court begin with a re-examination of the patent(s) for validity. Any patent
found invalid would of course instantly invalidate the claim and free up the
courts for more pressing matters, while valid patents could then allow the suit
to proceed as usual, and with a much stronger foundation for the claim.

This would work on all patents, regular and software, and would provide a
much-needed counterbalance to the liberal licensing practices of the patent
office. It would have an additional effect of discouraging frivolous and
profiteering based patent suits, especially if the plaintiff is the one required
to pay for the re-examination. It would also be easier to administrate than
forcing the patent office to do a better job, as only disputed patents need to
be looked at more carefully.

I just think it's ludicrous that lawsuits like this manage to go all the way to
judgment or settlement when the patents under dispute themselves are likely
nonviable.

Whaddya think? Would my idea float?

---
m(_ _)m

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lack of downside for overlooking Prior art
Authored by: lightsail on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 12:40 PM EDT
Among the problems associated with software patents, the utter lack of any
downside in overlooking prior art in the public realm is a critical flaw. Kodak
had very little exposure if the lawsuit failed and a large upside if it
succeeded.

When a patent overlooks another prior art in a current patent, the holder of the
earlier patent can use the infringment to leverage compensation. There needs to
be a mechanism for the protection of prior art in the public realm.

Could a class action lawsuit against Kodak for claiming previously public
methods as their invention with any user of the public methods as the class? I
use these methods in software the that I both create and use. Kodak patent's
clearly are casting doubt over a huge amount of software.

Can a backlash be created against these patent vultures? A single act of
eviscerating a company that has created and used bogus patents would go a long
way to rectifying the situation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It would be very nice if IBM spoke out...
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 01:21 PM EDT
It would sure be good for the community if IBM spoke out against software
patents at the EU and EC, and furthermore attempted to persuade the
commissioners and members of parliament to vote down software patents once and
for all by specifically enacting legislation that prohibits software patents.

---
(GL) Groklaw Lurker
$ echo "Darl" | sed "s/arl/ick/"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Gates Quote... ahh.. the logic
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 02:25 PM EDT
“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s
ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a
complete stand-still today. The solution . . . is patent exchanges . . . and
patenting as much as we can. . . . A future start-up with no patents of its own
will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price
might be high: Established companies have an interest in excluding future
competitors.” -- Fred Warshofsky, The Patent Wars 170-71 (NY: Wiley 1994).


Basically.. the logic goes... 'We recognize that if everyone had already gone
out and patented as much as they could... the industry would currently be at a
stand-still.... Our solution, therefore, is to patent as much as we can so we
can get that stand-still to occur as soon as possible.'

Ermm.. or am I reading that wrong?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 03:12 PM EDT
Interesting article on Newsforge today...

http://business.newsforge.com/business/04/10/05/1340248.shtml?tid=33



---
(GL) Groklaw Lurker
$ echo "Darl" | sed "s/arl/ick/"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 03:56 PM EDT
Now we finally know why Sun would not opensource Java. Because it wasn't theirs
and they knew it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun and Kodak Settle for $92 Million
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 08 2004 @ 06:04 PM EDT
Option #3: a boycott.

Kodak's future is in digital photography. Who knows
digital? We do. Who buys digital cameras? We do.
More importantly, who do our friends come to for
advice about technical purchases? Us.

If everyone who reads Groklaw decides not to purchase
Kodak products *AND* advises the people we know to do the
same, Kodak would loose far more than 93 million.

So, are you going to whine? Or are you going to vote
with your dollars?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )