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GraphOn's Patent Lawsuit Against Google

 3:53 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

GraphOn's Patent Lawsuit Against Google [news.cnet.com]
Software maker GraphOn has filed suit against search giant Google, alleging that Google's Base, AdWords, Blogger, Sites, and YouTube services violate GraphOn's patents

GraphOn, based in Santa Cruz, Calif., acquired the patents through its acquisition of Network Engineering Software, a privately held network software company, in 2005. The suit was filed in United States District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.



 4:14 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is that front page news? Are we the Daily Sport / National Enquirer now?

I recall British Telecom trying to assert their patent of the hyperlink.


 4:43 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Patents are important and useful, to prevent other people from stealing your inventions.

If British Telecom invented the hyperlink, then I suppose we all (or especially Sir Berners-Lee) owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. And maybe some money too. I hope the people who invented TCP/IP are relaxing in luxury on a beach, eating peeled grapes wrapped in gold leaf and drinking Kopi Luwak.

However in most news stories I hear about, it seems like patent holders are a pack of pedantic, nipple-twisting sharks who deserveth not a place in society.


 6:01 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Patents are important and useful, to prevent other people from stealing your inventions.

Not in software they aren't, they're more often a nuisance applied by bottom feeders that normally wouldn't be able to make money in the real world. They just sit around and think of obvious applications and file them and then kick back and wait for your patent to be granted and then sue everyone for creating those obvious applications.

They don't come up with earth shattering creations either, nothing that's non-obvious. I can understand the applicable patents for stuff like mathematical encoding that take people years to invent such as SSL, MP3, MPEG, etc.. However, getting a patent for obvious stuff like ecommerce, a patent I actively helped defeat the rash of lawsuits, or a simple file format like XML is insane.

So the first person to put classified ads online, should they get a patent?

How about the concept of the blog, which is just a glorified guest book, should the ability to type into a form and submit it, then have it subsequently displayed be patentable?

It's blatantly obvious technology to me but the USPTO will give anyone a patent for anything these days so the more obvious is seems and the broader you can claim the more likely you can sue half the web in a few years.

At some level patents just get stupid and impede progress from people doing the obvious.

No skills involved except thinking out loud and on file with the USPTO and you too can be a multi-millionaire in the next 10 years.

Grab a lawyer and join in the gold rush!

[edited by: incrediBILL at 6:03 pm (utc) on Aug. 18, 2008]

Lord Majestic

 6:08 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Patents are important and useful, to prevent other people from stealing your inventions.

The idea behind patents was to stimulate R&D by making sure that some good invention would be allowed a period of sale monopoly thus allowing to recoup costs. A fair few common sense exemptions were made - you can't patent mathematical formulaes and algorithms (in EU) and some other things that are basically idea.

In this case a patent troll company is just trying to make a quick buck from litigation - even if they win their actions won't actually help further the original goal behind patents - put more money into R&D. I am just hoping the next US Govt will make decisive moves to invalidate all algorithm/business process patents as they should have never been awarded in the first place.


 6:08 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL you express what we all feel when we read stories like this one


 9:02 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Has anyone taken the time to review the patents at hand? I glanced at the abstract for each of them; they're absolutely ridiculous. The first patent describes every remotely user-content driven site ever. I have a sneaking suspicion here that everyone on this forum could be sued successfully if this holds up.

How does that even get awarded? Isn't the USPTO supposed to be on top of technology? This fails to describe ANYTHING; just the five lines of code you use to write to and read from a database. Oh, lest I forget, the added HTML. This does not qualify as a process or invention, it's a very, very simple link between two technologies.

Oh, all those companies that build databases could be susceptible too; after all, the patent doesn't specify exactly what output formatting must occur, and all those front-end applications that are built for interacting with a database....

It's just asinine.

Regarding patent troll companies: this practice should be outlawed. I don't think you should even be able to sell a patent. If you registered for a patent, you should hold on to it until it expires. If you die first, it should go to the public domain. Same thing should happen if a company dies or is bought out.


 10:30 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)


I've got a patent pending so I guess I'm one of your bottom-feeders.
(Mmmmm, tasty! You should try some.)

Please name me an actual case in point, I'd like to look it up. Let's be specific, shall we?

Moving on, I think the current US patent system needs reform.

[edited by: jatar_k at 4:14 am (utc) on Aug. 19, 2008]
[edit reason] no politics thanks [/edit]


 10:39 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm certain Google can dig around in DoubleClick's code repository and find some prior art circa 1996.


 10:56 pm on Aug 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Please name me an actual case in point, I'd like to look it up. Let's be specific, shall we?

Here's the specific case [informationweek.com] with some of my direct customers named in the suit so don't go telling me it sounds like BS when I was at ground zero defending against this nonsense.

In this case the patent holder was suing the USERS of the alleged patent, not the creators of the software, as you can sue either, building up a war chest of $5K license fees to go after bigger fish.

I think the current US patent system needs reform.

Yes, they need to sweep out all the patent trolls before others are harmed by similar blackmail garbage.

It's a prime example of why Google patents everything so when someone comes after Google they have something in their war chest to use in defense.

These days patents are kind of like the NATO missile shield of software.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 10:58 pm (utc) on Aug. 18, 2008]


 8:53 pm on Aug 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

It doesn't pass the straight face test.... just like the "Buy Now" button.

The real issue is the patent office has confused the implementation of an idea in a software application as being the same as a unique piece of technology.


 12:44 am on Aug 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

IncrediBill, sounds like a "counter-class-action" suit to me. Just get together 10-20 small businesses, a good lawyer, and counter-sue the #*$!. Request millions of dollars plus attorney fees. Let em fry.


 3:01 am on Aug 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Off topic: but did any one hear about the australian lawyer who got a patent issued ( later cancelled) for a circular device that helps in motion. (guess!)


 5:23 pm on Aug 21, 2008 (gmt 0)


Gonna check out your link. Thanks. Been busy.
Nothing, but nothing, worse than legal woes except ill-health.

The comment about using patents as a "missile shield" is very on point. That's largely what they've become about.

You have to file before someone else does otherwise they have the upper hand.

As for my own patent pending, while I feel it's deserved and rock-solid, my IMPETUS for filing was defensive. I could have just gone ahead and developed a product around it (and have) but I wanted to prevent the central technique from being ripped off.

I AM bothered by patents that lie fallow - that is, patents that go undeveloped into real products and that is a part of the debate on reform.

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