Bill Mercer wrote:
> I noticed that too, but that's just the main patent. There are four other patents involved as well, and I think one of them extends the scope.
Don't make the mistake of reading the abstract and thinking you
understand the patent. The actual patent says
"A receiving system as recited in claim 25, wherein the transceiver
means receives the information via any one of telephone, ISDN, broadband
ISDN, satellite, common carrier, computer channels, cable television
systems, MAN, and microwave. "
That covers a lot of bases.
> It seems to me the real problem isn't the specifics of this particular scam (and it IS a scam). It's the fact that our government is issuing such irresponsible patents in the first place.
What, specifically, is irresponsible about issuing the patent? Is it
that you think they never actually built the system described in the
patent, or that they didn't describe it in enough detail? It looks like
it was probably a valid patent (although perhaps not, because it IS
rather vague, but the standard is whether it is detailed enough to allow
someone else to duplicate it, and I think it accomplishes that), but I'm
not at all convinced that what it describes is the same thing as the
streaming video systems now in use.
> From the uspto.gov web site:
> "A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion. The patent is granted upon the new machine, manufacture, etc., as has been said, and not upon the idea or suggestion of the new machine. A complete description of the actual machine or other subject matter for which a patent is sought is required."
The "or other subject matter" is important. It doesn't have to be a
physical device: a new method of doing something is patentable (the law
says "new and useful process"). All they are saying is that you have to
describe the process in detail, not just have some vague idea that you
write down and send in for a patent. I.e. if you come up with the idea
of transmitting video by compressing it and sending it over a phone
line, that just an idea. You have to "reduce it to practice" to have a
patentable invention. You have to describe HOW to compress the video or
HOW to transmit it over the phone line in enough detail that someone
else could duplicate your invention. If you can't do that, you can't
get a patent.
> And yet, we have this: http://tinyurl.com/5tak8
This is obviously silly, but it is a detailed description of a
supposedly new process. If you accept the claim that it is "new", then
it is a patentable invention. Its flaw isn't that it is not a
patentable subject, but that prior art exists. I know I did it long
ago, but I have no way to prove it.
> Patents on general descriptions and "notions" about doing things are not supposed to be legal,
What has that got to do with the example above? It is enough of a
description to allow you to duplicate the process, and that's enough to
get you a patent. The distinction between a description of an idea and
a description of a patentable invention is the level of detail provided.
but they are granted all the time. Patenting ideas, not actual
inventions, is wrong.
> It seems funny at first. But the link above actually grants Steven Olsen the right to charge royalties of anyone who plays on a swing this way, and the legal bills to defend against such a charge would easily bankrupt a family, or a school system. Not so funny when you think about it.
No, it actually grants him the right to prevent others from using his
process without his permission. I sounds like the same thing, but the
royalties are not a matter of law, they are simply what it will take to
convince him to give you permission.
A patent is a license to sue.
> Bill Mercer - National Center for Construction Education and Research
> 3600 NW 43rd St
> Gainesville, Florida 32606
> Phone 352-334-0911 Fax 352-334-0932
>>>>"Bruce H. McIntosh" <[log in to unmask]> 08/12/04 02:42PM >>>
> On Thu, 2004-08-12 at 14:26, Bill Mercer wrote:
>>From the uspto: abstract of patent #5,132,992
>>"A system of distributing video and/or audio information employs digital signal processing to achieve high rates of data compression. The compressed and encoded audio and/or video information is sent over standard telephone, cable or satellite broadcast channels to a receiver specified by a subscriber of the service, preferably in less than real time, for later playback and optional recording on standard audio and/or video tape."
> Wait a minute. "...information is sent over standard telephone, cable or
> satellite broadcast channels..." By that text, the patent should not
> apply to audio/video information sent over the computer network, unless
> the end user is a dialup or DirecWay (or whatever its name is this
> month) subscriber.
> Bruce H. McIntosh, CCNP [log in to unmask]
> Senior Network Engineer http://net-services.ufl.edu
> University of Florida CNS/Network Services 352-392-2061