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Google Patents

Google-Backed Yieldify Has Acquired IP From 'World's Biggest Patent Troll' (theregister.co.uk) 69

An anonymous reader cites an article on The Register: Yieldify, the Google-backed startup accused of stealing code from British adtech company Bounce Exchange, has been making some unusual friends. Yieldify has acquired an ancient web patent from III Holdings which was first filed in 2007. III Holdings is better known as Inside Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold. It has been dubbed "the most hated company in tech" and "the world's biggest patent troll." IIV is a "NPE" (non-practicising entity), which gathers up patents and seeks to unlock their value through selling on or licensing the IP. This has been backed up by litigation, such as Samsung, a recipient of one of III's sueballs. In a court filing made last week, Yieldify made a request for declaratory judgement in its ongoing case versus Bounce Exchange, citing the IIV patent. Also from the report: Clearly, patent trolls are unacceptable when they're trolling you, but become strategically useful when you can troll back.
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Google-Backed Yieldify Has Acquired IP From 'World's Biggest Patent Troll'

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  • Surely the word lawsuit could have been used instead of sueballs. It's an unneeded, contrived word. Just my opinion. Otherwise, thanks for the information.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @12:30PM (#52062017) Homepage
    Patent trolls are notoriously synonymous as leeches that contribute nothing to the process of invention, but theyre no better than the intellectual property patents and frivolous design patents that their targets such as Google or Microsoft endorse and employ.

    if anything patent reform by victory should be eschewed in favour of unilateral patent and copyright reform. litigation shouldnt be relegated to some remote texas exurban court, and the USPTO shouldnt roll over whenever someone wants to patent absurdities like one click shopping.
    • theyre no better than the intellectual property patents and frivolous design patents that their targets such as Google or Microsoft endorse and employ.

      Do you have a citation of Google's use of such patents?

  • Unfortunately, this sums up the general rule in patent law: your patent is invalid and you are obviously a troll. I, on the other hand, have a clearly valid patent and I am enforcing my legitimate patent rights. Lather, rinse, repeat...
    • That is the problem if after spending large amount of a money on R&D a company declares bankruptcy and I purchase a novel and unique patent not already used in dozens or hundreds of products to either sell, license, or produce then that should be fair but when patents are so broad that they could be almost anything and could be applied to dozens of products even ones made prior to the patent then there is big problem and that patent never should have been granted.

  • Presumably, most of the /. readers produce ideas [economist.com] and other intangible and easily copied once created things for a living. In other words, we are paid for these intangible things.

    Why, then, are most people so negative on other people selling and buying them? The hated "patent trolls" buy ideas from people, who have them — thus rewarding our colleagues. What is theirs, they are entitled to reselling — at whatever price the market will bear. This is normal and perfectly ethical.

    Yes, the weaponize [wikipedia.org]

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @01:13PM (#52062363)

      Why, then, are most people so negative on other people selling and buying them? The hated "patent trolls" buy ideas from people, who have them — thus rewarding our colleagues.

      The problem is that independent inventors, who patent their inventions, and then enforce those patents, are contributing NOTHING to society. They are just parasites preying on companies that came up with the same idea independently. At my company, we are forbidden to even look at patents, or to talk to someone who claims to have a patent, because that just increases our liability. They can later come back and say we "stole" their idea. They are just blood-sucking parasites and the world would be better off without them.

      The belief that "independent inventors" are creating useful innovations, and then licensing them to grateful companies, is nonsense. That almost never happens.

      If you want to be a inventor, you should work for (or start) a company that actually produces products.

      • The belief that "independent inventors" are creating useful innovations, and then licensing them to grateful companies, is nonsense. That almost never happens.

        [citation needed]

        If you want to be a inventor, you should work for (or start) a company that actually produces products.

        Why? If I want to be a film director do I have to be an employee of Disney? If I want to be a software developer do I have to work for Microsoft?

        Who the fuck are you to deny people the right to operate as independent entrepreneurs?

        • Who the fuck are you to deny people the right to operate as independent entrepreneurs?

          Patent trolls are not "entrepreneurs". Entrepreneurs are the people they prey on.

      • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @01:55PM (#52062685)

        If you want to be a inventor, you should work for (or start) a company that actually produces products.

        In addition, they should be required to produce a commercial product within a year of filing that implements the patent or lose the rights. That way, companies couldn't come up with new ideas and patent them in hopes of using them isn some unspecified future product. Keep the idea a trade secret and don't patent until you are ready to release a product; and if someone else beats you to it too bad.

        • It seems like the present laws surrounding patents confound multiple aspects of the economics of inventions: the invention itself, use of invention, licensing, and protection against litigation. It's reasonable to assume that patents should lead to actual economic product, rather than just a piece of paper for trolling. Therefore, the suggestion of commercializing patents within a year is good.

          However, there are cases where a person/company thinks of an idea, has no immediate purpose of putting this idea to

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        The problem is that independent inventors, who patent their inventions, and then enforce those patents, are contributing NOTHING to society

        What? Of course, they contribute — their ideas. Ideas, which you find sufficiently useful to want to use them...

        They are just parasites preying on companies that came up with the same idea independently

        Did they come up with it independently?

        And if so, why would they go through all that effort-duplication instead of checking, what's already been patented, for examp

        • Of course, they contribute — their ideas.

          Ideas are a dime a dozen, and very few are original. Many patents are frivolous. My company was sued because we had an HTML file on a CDROM, and Acacia Research [wikipedia.org], a notorious patent troll, had acquired a patent on that.

          Did they come up with it independently?

          Yes, many people have independently put HTML files on CDROMs. Almost nobody searches patent portfolios looking for ideas to steal. 99% of them are garbage, and the other 1% are indecipherable.

          And if so, why would they go through all that effort-duplication instead of checking, what's already been patented, for example?

          So, before I copy each file on a CDROM, I am supposed to spend a few days on "research" to see if

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            Ideas are a dime a dozen, and very few are original. Many patents are frivolous.

            Well, this is a problem. But not the entire concept of patents or intellectual property.

            So, before I copy each file on a CDROM, I am supposed to spend a few days on "research" ...?

            No, this is a case of abuse, and your company, probably, should've fought it. On the other hand, if it was patented before the idea became obvious to anyone "skilled in the art", then this was not an abuse and you should pay them. Because they paid the

            • On the other hand, if it was patented before the idea became obvious to anyone "skilled in the art", then this was not an abuse and you should pay them.

              No, no, no. Just being first shouldn't be enough to gain a patent. Putting an HTML file on a CD-ROM is obvious to anyone skilled in the art, even if it hasn't been done before. Think for a moment... in the future we may have .ai files containing precooked artificial intelligences trained for a specific task. These files don't exist yet, but I can already imagine that we'll put them on Blu-rays. Or in cellphones. Or send them over the net. Should I be granted a patent on doing that just because I spec

              • by mi ( 197448 )

                No, no, no. Just being first shouldn't be enough to gain a patent. Putting an HTML file on a CD-ROM is obvious to anyone skilled in the art, even if it hasn't been done before.

                I did not say, the patent is valid, because it is old. I said, it may be valid, if it was registered before it became obvious to anyone skilled in the art. Read...

                If something is patented, it may still be declared obvious to someone skilled in the art after the fact

                Even if it was not so obvious, when it was first issued? Could you cit

                • I don't think so, because a great many patents become obvious once published

                  That is not what "obvious to someone skilled in the arts" means. It means: would this have been obvious to someone solving the problem at hand without prior knowledge of the patented solution. In case of putting HTML files on CD-ROMS, using XOR to draw a cursor, or that sort of thing, the answer must be Yes. Some further reading [wikipedia.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But none of it supports the abolishment of the very concept of intellectual property in general and patents in particular, which is so often suggested here. Are these suggestions coming from fools and/or folks short of their own ideas? What's going on?

      Imagine that you have a plumbing issue in your bathroom.
      The toilet is all messed up.
      You call a company to fix it, and they send out a plumber to install a new toilet.
      This new toilet has a "feature" whereby you can't flush it unless you swipe your debit card and pay a flush fee.
      This flush fee is, of course, credited to the company who sent the plumber to install your toilet.

      We (these "intellectual property" creators who read Slashdot) are the other plumbers in this economy, and we're saying this:

      This PAY-TO-

      • Shhh, silent, or somebody files a patent for it and makes a SV startup unicorn.

      • You call a company to fix it, and they send out a plumber to install a new toilet.
        This new toilet has a "feature" whereby you can't flush it unless you swipe your debit card and pay a flush fee.

        I'm not a home-owner, but I had no idea a plumber could force an un-replaceable toilet on you.

    • You know I have nothing against the concept of intellectual property or patents. Its good to have it. The only thing I am against are software patents, as in 99% of the cases they are just trivial patents, and in all other cases they only help the big companies and those with sufficient funding.

      About copyright, a term of 70 years after the death of the creator is far too long, and should be life of the creator plus 25 years or something, and 50 years for works that were created by multiple people.

      And having

      • About copyright, a term of 70 years after the death of the creator is far too long

        The rationale for this copyright term is that those family members who knew an author personally ought to know best how the author wanted the work exploited. That's why the Berne Convention defines life plus 50, as an approximation of the life of the author's grandchildren [pineight.com]. The subsequent extension to life plus 70 was intended to correct the approximation for increased life expectancy, not to act as corporate welfare. If you disagree with a life of grandchildren copyright term, that ship unfortunately saile

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        There are four protection mechanisms the software industry has. First, the compiler and minifier: if you publish your software, its hard to find out how it works. Second, non disclosed communication protocols: Often the communication protocols your software uses in order to talk or save stuff or so is not documented, which means only your software can access it.

        Are you a software engineer? De-compiling binaries/obfuscated code and reverse engineering wire protocols are both trivial. Security analysts do both daily for malware, for example.

        • Then show me the compliant whatsapp clients, or the microsoft office compliant applications. Its damn hard to reverse engineer a binary data protocol. Perhaps its easier in the age of json, but I doubt it. If you use idapro or similar tools, you infringe their copyright. In fact, security analysts infringe copyright for their day job. Just the copyright holders don't want to tell their names to the state, so they can't sue them.

    • Presumably, most of the /. readers produce ideas [economist.com] and other intangible and easily copied once created things for a living. In other words, we are paid for these intangible things.

      as a software developer, my work is covered by copyright. however, both copyright and patent law are absurd. software patents are the single worst form of patent because they are not for a specific implementation but rather the mere idea of a design. here's the thing, software patents didn't exist until patent law was amended to allow it. so yeah, software patents need to die forever and copyright needs to be reduced back to it's original 14 year term.

      Why, then, are most people so negative on other people selling and buying them?

      for the same reason i'm against international arms d

    • > Why, then, are most people so negative on other people selling and buying them?

      You can start here with the shenanigans of Imaginary Property:

      * Against Intellectual Property [stephankinsella.com]
      * Against Intellectual Property 2 [mises.org]

      --
      Only Cowards Censor

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      Until we change our legal practices to make sure, the loser pays winner's legal costs by default, the side with a bigger legal budget will keep "winning" before entering the courtroom.

      Wait ... how does "loser pays" keep the side with the bigger legal budget from winning? Bigger legal budget = more and better lawyers, meaning the little guy will probably lose. Under the "loser pays" system, however, there is a massive penalty for losing. If I sue Google and Google brings its whole legal team to bear against my couple of lawyers, I will not only probably lose but paying Google's legal costs will probably put me out of business. Knowing this, I will never sue to begin with, and once again,

  • The web is 27 years old, how is a 9 year old patent ancient in that context?
  • I've read TFA twice and I'm still not sure whether Google uses the patent in question in an offensive or a defensive way. Surely countersuing against a patent litigation with patents of your own is rightful self defence. Countersuing with patents against a copyright litigation is very different though. And even if Google is only purchasing these patents for defence, it is giving funds to patent trolls by buying from them, making filing bogus patents a lucrative business.

  • Is there a company out there named -ify or -ly that I doesn't deserve an automatic javascript block in my NoScript rules? It seems to be a hallmark of shitty ad industry website bloat

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To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

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