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What will it take -- and how -- to fix the US Patent Office? The whole
area of patents for software, business methods and even
obvious stuff is beyond pathetic.
Slashdot article and discussion:
Informationweek.com article above story references:
On the second page of the informationweek.com article, a URL
is given for a site where folks are joining together to
fight this company wanting to "license" their patent to
do e-commerce to small to mid size companies:
Sadly, I wonder if the solution for most small businesses
will be to incorporate their e-commerce business
in some non US country that gives no heed to garbage like
this, and have everything running on servers in some foreign
datacenter....sad....anybody done this?
This is a very active topic on the RedHat Interchange users list [icdevgroup.org] right now. There are discussions about teaming up (possibly with youmaybenext.com) in court to stop this company before this whole situation gets any more out of hand than it already is.
We should all be worried since this company likes to target small e-commerce companies, perhaps to build steam for larger suits against Amazon.com, etc.
Here is a link to the posts in the interchange mailing list archives on this topic [icdevgroup.org] (it will not be up to date right away).
The company that appears to be publicizing these lawsuits the most is a plumbing supply company. They have created a website with details [youmaybenext.com] on the various lawsuits pending, as well as info on the company that is filing the lawsuits. The website for the company is down. According to information I found through various searches, the website [panip.com] was taken down by the company so they would not be harrassed by angry business owners and other concerned individuals.
Slashdot has a thread on this topic [slashdot.org] which sheds a bit more light on the subject and its potential impact.
I'm just wondering if anyone on this forum (particularly the attorneys) have any additional information on this suit, its ramifications, whether it holds water, etc.
Anyone out there with legal training in the area of patent law?
Is this guy a nut case? Or does his case potentially have merit?
Do you use graphical and textural information on a screen for the purpose of making a sale?
Tut tut! You may be sued for infringing a patent!
Pangea Intellectual Properties (PANIP LLC) of San Diego are apparently sueing companies across the country for performing the above AND for automating financial transactions via a telephone line and video screen.
Should we be scared? ;)
See the following urls:
I think the main concern isn't so much the sueing, as whether PanIP is going to be sucessful in any of their suits. Oh, and of course, whether any of us or our companies are going to be sued! The other concern is why the US Patent Office has taken this Lockwood guy seriously and if there's anything that can be done about it.
I'm starting to wonder if the folks who are currently being sued can get the courts to combine the suits and then they'd be able to combine their resources against PanIP.....
It's worth following for sure. . . .
Other than polling site visitors, there's no way to know what kind of screen they're using to view the site. Unless, of course, the folks responding to any kind of poll are answering questions truthfully, if at all.
As for the patent, looks like someone tried to challenge it in 1997 and it was denied in part, but was (unfortunately) upheld under appeal by the USPTO.
The other thing to note is that the youmaybenext site states they want to charge companies something more like $30,000, rather than the $5,000 mentioned earlier in this thread. Either way, it's insane.
I really think if the companies are all able to band together and combine their funds into some kind of a joint action, they can fight this and win. I certainly hope so.
It all reminds me of a scifi story I read once where a guy decides to patent the wheel. Rather crazy on the surface, but who knows what the courts will decide.