"patent" entries

Peer to Patent Australia recruits volunteer prior art searchers

The Peer to Patent project has already earned its place in history.
But I've been wondering, along with many other people, where it's
going. It's encouraging to hear that a new pilot has started in
Australia and has gathered a small community of volunteer patent art

Four short links: 20 October 2009

Four short links: 20 October 2009

Politics in The Age of Social Software, Ethernet Patents, Free Book Fear, Programming Exercises

  1. Poles, Politeness, and Politics in the Age of Twitter (Stephen Fry) — begins with a discussion of a UK storm but rapidly turns into a discussion of fame in the age of Twitter, modern political discourse, the “deadwood press”, and The Commons in Twitter Assembled. There is an energy abroad in the kingdom, one that yearns for a new openness in our rule making, our justice system and our administration. Do not imagine for a minute that I am saying Twitter is it. Its very name is the clue to its foundation and meaning. It is not, as I have pointed out before, called Ponder or Debate. It is called Twitter. But there again some of the most influential publications of the eighteenth century had titles like Tatler, Rambler, Idler and Spectator. Hardly suggestive of earnest political intent either. History has a habit of choosing the least prepossessing vessels to be agents of change.
  2. Apple and Others Hit With Lawsuit Over 90s Ethernet Patents — unclear whether the plaintiff is 3Com (who filed the patents) or a troll who bought them. “We strongly believe that 3Com’s Ethernet technologies are being regularly infringed by foreign and some US companies,” said David A. Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Ethernet Innovations. “We believe that the continued aggressive enforcement of the fundamental Ethernet technologies developed by 3Com against the waves of cheap, knock-off, foreign manufactured equipment is a necessary step in protecting the competitiveness of this American technology and American companies in general.” (via Slashdot)
  3. The Point — someone’s publishing Mark Pilgrim’s “Dive into Python”, which was published by APress under an open content license. Naturally this freaked out APress (it’s easy to imagine many eyelids would tic nervously should such a thing happen with one of O’Reilly’s open-licensed books). Mark’s response is fantastic. Part of choosing a Free license for your own work is accepting that people may use it in ways you disapprove of. There are no “field of use” restrictions, and there are no “commercial use” restrictions either. In fact, those are two of the fundamental tenets of the “Free” in Free Software. If “others profiting from my work” is something you seek to avoid, then Free Software is not for you. Opt for a Creative Commons “Non-Commercial” license, or a “personal use only” freeware license, or a traditional End User License Agreement. Free Software doesn’t have “end users.” That’s kind of the point.
  4. Programming Praxis — programming exercises to keep your skills razor-sharp, with solutions.
Four short links: 7 October 2009

Four short links: 7 October 2009

Ongoing Palm Fail, YouTube Numbers, Plugin Patent Pain, Bivalve-Oriented Architecture

  1. Followup to jwz’s Palm App Store Fiasco — redux: still nothing concrete from Palm, but they’re saying they’ll create a second-rate app store into which open source apps will go (along with apps that Palm hasn’t reviewed).
  2. Schmidt on YouTube — the interesting bit for me was Every minute, more than 10 hours of video is uploaded to the site.
  3. Company that won $585M from Microsoft sues Apple, GoogleThe infamous ‘906 patent granted to Eolas and the University of California was one of the first patents to get the young online tech scene going in 1998. The patent addresses third-party browser plug-ins to run various forms of media as an “embedded program object”—essentially a program that runs within another program. Eolas promptly sued Microsoft for its implementation of ActiveX in Internet Explorer, which set in motion a years-long legal battle between the two companies. and won $585M, now they’re suing many large Internet companies. (via Hacker News)
  4. IBM Uses Mussels as Sensor NetworkConcerned with the environmental and revenue impacts of leaks during oil drilling, StatOil sought an innovative and automated way to detect leaks. They wanted to replace a manual process that included deep sea drivers. StatOil’s innovation, they attached RFID tags to the shells of blue mussels. When the blue mussels sense an oil leak, they close which prompts the RFID tags to emit closure events. In response to the events, the drilling line is automatically stopped. And, in case you are wondering, this is of no harm to the blue mussels. (via monkchips on Twitter)
Four short links: 8 July 2009

Four short links: 8 July 2009

  1. Stop Whining About Facebook’s Redesign (Slate) — How can I be so sure that you’ll learn to like the redesign? Because you did the last two times Facebook did it. The conclusion is that sites don’t say why they’re redesigning, and that causes the resistance.
  2. C# and CLI under the Community Promise (Miguel de Icaza) — Microsoft have announced they won’t pursue patents relating to C# or the .NET Common Language Infrastructure (CLI): It is important to note that, under the Community Promise, anyone can freely implement these specifications with their technology, code, and solutions. You do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate to Microsoft how you will implement the specifications. Good news for Mono and other .NET-compatible projects.
  3. app-engine-patch — a patch that lets most of Django work on Google App Engine. (via caseywest on Twitter)
  4. Scope — talk by Matt Webb, given to Reboot 2009. Every ten slides I sigh happily as new mental connections slide into place, as only Matt can make them. Worth it just for finding this Stewart Brand quote, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” That one sentence could direct a lifetime of action.
Four short links: 26 May 2009

Four short links: 26 May 2009

Databases, Sensors, Visualization, and Patents

  1. Flare — dynamically partitioning and reconstructing key-value server. Currently built on Tokyo Cabinet, but backend is theoretically pluggable. (via joshua on delicious)
  2. Implantable Device Offers Continuous Cancer Monitoring — the sensor network begins to extend into our bodies. The cylindrical, 5-millimeter implant contains magnetic nanoparticles coated with antibodies specific to the target molecules. Target molecules enter the implant through a semipermeable membrane, bind to the particles and cause them to clump together. That clumping can be detected by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The device is made of a polymer called polyethylene, which is commonly used in orthopedic implants. The semipermeable membrane, which allows target molecules to enter but keeps the magnetic nanoparticles trapped inside, is made of polycarbonate, a compound used in many plastics. (via FreakLabs)
  3. Visualizing Data source — the source code to examples in Visualizing Data.
  4. The First Software Patent (Wired) — was issued on this day in 1981, for a complex full-text storage and retrieval system. Tellingly, business strategy of the owner of the first software patent was … to become a patent lawyer. A day that will linger in irritation, if not live in infamy. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
Four short links: 26 Feb 2009

Four short links: 26 Feb 2009

Three stories about old-media in new-media age, and some patent goblins to leave a bad taste in your mouth:

  1. The Kindle Swindle — the Authors Guild president argues that the robot voice of the Kindle does away with audiobook royalty streams, lucrative for some titles. Doesn’t mention the vast majority of books for which there is no audiobook. Creators have attempted to regulate use with licenses, but I think the plasticity of bits argues against this being possible for much longer. Now “audiobook”-ness is a feature of the device, not a feature of the retailed artistic work, and the question is not only how to charge for it but whether it makes sense to continue to charge for it. Neil Gaiman, by the way, doesn’t feel the same way as the head of the Author’s Guild.
  2. If You Want to Save Newspapers, Learn to Love Your iPhones — a long Observer piece about the “future of newspapers”, reinvention in the mobile age, subscription models, the curse of Google, etc. Many great quotes, for example: “Google is great for Google, but it’s terrible for content providers, because it divides that content quantitatively rather than qualitatively. And if you are going to get people to pay for content, you have to encourage them to make qualitative decisions about that content.” — Robert Thomson, the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.
  3. NYT ArticleSkimmer — reminscent, vaguely, of Arts & Letters Daily, the original “big heap o’ content” page. Between this and Big Picture, I’m enjoying the experimentation in online newspaper formats.
  4. Microsoft Sues TomTom Over Patents, Including Linux Kernel — Microsoft patented elements of the FAT filesystem, including the system for representing long filenames on systems that only handle 8.3 filenames like CRAPWARE.EXE. This filesystem is used in pretty much every digital camera and Flash filesystem device, and the TomTom system in question. This Ars Digita article raises the interesting possibility that the Open Invention Network could respond by flexing its patent portfolio muscles and make it clear that nobody wants a battle over patents (except lawyers who are paid by the hour).

Richard Jefferson Interviewed in Com Ciência

I enjoyed this interview with Richard Jefferson (caution: PDF) from Com Ciência No. 102, October 05, 2008. Richard runs CAMBIA, a group that fights for open innovation in biological sciences. He's particularly cautionary about the potential for patents to greatly restrict the development of Synthetic Biology (SB): But don't doubt there will be some very interesting biological understanding that emerges…

Encouraging results from Peer-to-Patent


is carrying off one of the most audacious experiments in Internet
activism in our day.
A report released by the non-profit project in

PDF format

reports the data from surveys and an analysis of patents handled
during the first year of the project. The sample is small (23 patents)
but bears some impressive fruit.