Monday, May 10, 2010


Top 10 Bogus technology patents

Indiatimes Infotech Remember the application filed by the University

of Mississippi Medical Centre for a patent over the use of turmeric (haldi) powder as a wound healing agent? Think the patent claim could not

have been more absurd? Though a patent claim over turmeric was surely among the weirdest ones, there are many more egregious patents filed in the technology space. US based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF) has launched a drive against

what it calls bogus patents that suppress noncommercial

and small business innovation and limit free expression online.

Here's looking into EEF's list of top 10 bogus patents

Acacia Technologies

Patent covers the sending and receiving of streaming audio and video over

the Internet. "Laughably broad patent would cover everything from online

distribution of home movies to scanned documents and MP3s.

Threatening dozens of small companies, including many

Home grown adult Websites. Infringement campaign

threatens to chill freedom of expression by limiting small

companies' and individuals' ability to stream their content online."


In combination, the patents cover hardware, software, and processes for

implementing voiceoverInternet protocol (VoIP) using analog telephones

as endpoints. Put simply, these patents cover telephone calls

over the Internet. "Overbroad patents cover nearly all current implementations of

VOIP, an emerging technology, thus stifling innovation and use

of VOIP as a tool of free speech. Crippling the progress of small

VOIP developers could undermine ease of communication


Ideaflood (Hoshiko)

This is a system for allowing users of a network to create and retrieve information from a personally named subdomain, such as ""

"Ideaflood built their entire business model on bullying smaller companies

into paying licensing fees for overbroad software patents. Threatened

many small Website hosting companies. "



A method for administering tests, lessons, assessments, and surveys on

the Internet, scoring them, and maintaining records of test scores online.

"Overbroad patent threatens to chill market for distance learning, online

books that include tests, online certification tests and software testing

done via the Internet. wants to license or sell its patent to a

large company who can wrestle more licensing fees out of groups who do

online testing."


A system that uses natural language processing to respond to customers'

online inquiries by email. "Patent uses basic natural language processing techniques taught in introductory computer science courses. Firepond is aggressively

threatening and filing suit against companies in the natural language

processing software space. Filed suit against California company Banter for infringement, eventually strong arming Banter into licensing Firepond's patents."

Clear Channel/Live Nation

A system and method for recording live performances (eg music concerts),

editing them into tracks during the performance, and recording them to media (eg CDs) within minutes of the performance ending. "Claiming to own a monopoly on allinone

technologies that produce postconcert live recordings on digital media. Forcing bands to use Clear Channel's CD burning systems instead of their own or those of small startup companies. Threatening to sue anyone who produces postshow live recordings at any of its 100+ venues in the US, inhibiting investment and innovation in the postevent

content distribution market."

Sheldon F Goldberg

Realtime multiplayer online games, including card games. Claim 92 of

the patent alleges to cover realtime updates to ladder rankings for multiplayer

online games. "Threatening small online gaming Websites. Claiming to own basic online

gaming architecture."

NeoMedia Technologies

A system and method for using identification codes to access particular computers on a network, including the use of bar codes to lookup information about products via a network. "Threatening small infoaggregating companies such as ScanBuy, AirClic

and LScan Technologies. Also, a potential threat to Barcr, an opensource,

alpha quality barcode

scanner for Nokia's 60 series camera phones."


A software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform such as the Game Boy. "Threatens reverse engineering of video games to promote

interoperability and emulation by hobbyists and entrepreneurs like

Crimson Fire Entertainment and Gambit Studios."

Seer Systems

A system for joining different musical data types together in a file,

distributing them over the internet, and then playing that file.

"Currently threatening small companies trying to innovate in this field, like

Beatnik. Threatening to compromise at least two public media standardsMPEG4

and XMF.

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