Heads up! Some new patent applications have just been posted on the Peer to Patent Project website, including one from Microsoft, its first entry in the project, on a kind of system I think of as a DRM'd computerized bean counter which tracks all the media clips bought and sold in the offline system of the invention, and then pays copyright holders and their ex-filesharing pirate distributors.
I admit I'm sleepy, so maybe I'm oversimplifying or missing something essential, but that's how I understand it so far. The overview makes it sound like a Bluetooth thing, where you buy something without going on the Internet, and the system tracks your every move so copyright holders get paid. The goal, I gather on a quick look, is to get around what they view as the filesharing problem and the analog hole. They suggest paying "pirates" an incentive cut if they will quit filesharing for free and participate for money in this offline media economy so copyright holders can get paid.
Businesses keep thinking there *must* be a way to turn back the clock and get that total chokehold they dream about. It's like searching for the fountain of youth in Florida. I know. There is no fountain of youth in Florida.
I ask you, does it get more inspiring than this? Maybe if SCO filed a patent application on a billing method for threatening Linux end users.
A patent on a system to coopt filesharers and make them work for Hollywood? Microsoft deserves a patent just for thinking it up. Just kidding around, folks. [Update: It seems this is not a unique concept. Someone left a comment pointing to Grooveshark's business model, and if you add wireless, you get this patent application, it seems. Now the question: which was first? Another question, does it pass the nonobvious test?]
Here is how Microsoft's application is described in the Peer to Patent press release:
Microsoft’s application (#20070136608) is for an invention that will allow copyright owners and media sellers to profit from the off-line transfer of media between buyers and sellers. According to the application, the invention is intended to create an off-line economy for digital media that will store proof and details for off-line transactions. This record will then be used to allot portions of the transaction to the copyright owner, and also to the seller, as an incentive for creating the transaction. The off-line economy will equip copyright owners with a tool to aid them in profiting from their properties, while simultaneously creating an inexpensive channel for media distribution that is accessible to buyers.
A system for selling media clips in an offline economy. Catchy. Well, Microsoft always did grok the Internet. Snark.
At last! The iTunes killer. I surely hope you guys can deep six this one with prior art. Although, I must admit I find it appealing to think of a world where Microsoft and Hollywood hopped off the Internet and played in their own separate offline playground.
So far, there have been 1,000 reviewers signed up to participate in the Peer to Patent Project, by the way, and I'm happy to say we are richly represented. So have at it, by all means. It would be good if one of you would volunteer this time to collect the best comments left here on Groklaw and then submit the group's findings on prior art on our behalf. If you have signed up already, and you prefer to input directly, that's fine too, but I think it would be best for someone with more tech skills than I have to coordinate, so you will know which comments really matter. So if you wish to volunteer, email me please.
Intel and IBM have posted new patent applications again too. Here's the P2P press release with more details, including about some improvements to the P2P site.
Patent Applications From Microsoft, IBM and Intel
Now Open for Public Review
Peer-to-Patent Exceeds 1000 Public Peer Reviewers;
Eight applications now available for open review at
Monday, July 09, 2007—Today Peer-to-Patent, an initiative of New York Law School and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, announced that an application from Microsoft has joined applications posted by GE, HP, Intel, IBM and Red Hat available for public review.
Peer to Patent also announced that more than 1000 active contributors have signed up to aid US patent reviewers at http://www.peertopatent.org.
Peer-to-Patent opens up the patent examination process for the first time, enabling the public to contribute prior art and commentary relevant to the examination of pending software patent applications at http://www.peertopatent.org.
“We’re thrilled with the support and open approach shown by Microsoft, Intel, and so many other companies,” said Beth Noveck, director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School. “In particular, we expect significant interest in Microsoft’s application, as it relates to an important topic in the online world, digital rights management.”
The three new patent applications now available for public participation on the Peer-to-Patent site include Microsoft’s first submission to the pilot (on Digital Rights Management), and a second submission from each of Intel (on computer processor efficiency), and IBM (on moving databases).
• Microsoft’s application (#20070136608) is for an invention that will allow copyright owners and media sellers to profit from the off-line transfer of media between buyers and sellers. According to the application, the invention is intended to create an off-line economy for digital media that will store proof and details for off-line transactions. This record will then be used to allot portions of the transaction to the copyright owner, and also to the seller, as an incentive for creating the transaction. The off-line economy will equip copyright owners with a tool to aid them in profiting from their properties, while simultaneously creating an inexpensive channel for media distribution that is accessible to buyers.
• Intel’s application (# 20070130448) deals with increasing computer processor efficiency. Computer processors predict where certain information is stored after it has been used so that it can be retrieved as directly as possible; an incorrect prediction by the processor significantly slows down performance. Intel’s patent application describes a stack tracker that generates a distance value corresponding to a relative distance between a load instruction and a previous store instruction. According to the application, the distance value generated by the stack tracker can then be used to help minimize incorrect predictions so that the processor can perform more efficiently.
• IBM’s application (#20070150488) addresses the problem of moving a database from its current source system to a new target system that often has different characteristics from the source system. According to the application, the invention describes a method for optimizing the migration of a database by collecting details (parameters) about the source system and the target system in order to generate configuration information that can be used to fine tune the database’s operation on the target system.
Reviewing patent applications is free and open to all via the Peer-to-Patent Web site at www.peertopatent.org. Bloggers are also invited and encouraged to host their own conversations about pending patent applications and then submit prior art via the Peer-to-Patent website.
The Peer-to-Patent Web site enables those who sign up to:
• review and discuss posted patent applications
• share research to locate references to relevant earlier publications
• submit these prior art references with an explanation of relevance
• annotate and evaluate submitted prior art
• winnow the top ten prior art references, which, together with commentary, will be forwarded directly to the USPTO
Enhancements have also been made to the Peer-to-Patent Web site this week to facilitate participation. The improvements include support for email and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) alerts for new applications, allowing subscribers to be notified when a new application of interest has been posted to the site. These features can be found on the list of patent applications at http://www.peertopatent.org/patent/list. Participants can already sign up to receive notifications about new postings for each specific application via RSS and email.
All patent applications are posted in an easy-to-read format on the site. References and Citations from the original patent application are also now included.
Other features include:
• Longer discussion comments now allowed
• Improved display of special characters in comments
• URLs in comments are now automatically hyperlinked (as are claims and prior art references already)
• Enhanced display of instructional and informational videos
Sign up to participate in public review on http://www.peertopatent.org. For more information about the Peer-to-Patent project, please also visit http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent.
Read recent news stories about the pilot at
Peer-to-Patent is an initiative of New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy in cooperation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The pilot program allows for public participation in the patent examination process and will run for one year. The Peer-to-Patent software and pilot program have been developed with the sponsorship of CA, GE, HP, IBM, Intellectual Ventures, the MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft, Omidyar Network, and Red Hat.