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The firm's assets were auctioned on Monday by the United States Bankruptcy Court. The patents cover protocols relating to web services widely used in the industry, according to CNet.
Several Silicon Valley giants including Google, IBM, Oracle and Sun met last month to discuss a joint defence should JGR try to enforce the patents. The firms also considered pooling resources to buy the patents but this was rejected.
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:03 pm (utc) on Dec. 8, 2004]
[edit reason] added quote [/edit]
The patents cover a set of key technical protocols known as Web services, a popular method for exchanging business documents over the Internet. The protocols are in wide use today; Microsoft, IBM and other software companies both large and small have incorporated them into their programs.
Presumably, something like SOAP or WDSL.
US PAT Nš:6,751,600
Method for automatic categorization of items
US PAT Nš:6,591,260
Method of retrieving schemas for interpreting documents in an electronic commerce system
US PAT Nš:6,542,912
Tool for building documents for commerce in trading partner networks and interface definitions based on the documents
US PAT Nš:6,226,675
Participant server which process documents for commerce in trading partner networks
US PAT Nš:6,125,391
Market makers using documents for commerce in trading partner networks
They all look quite dull, so I didn't bother to do more than skim them, but basically they all deal with the automated classification and organisation of documents in a group commerce area.
Shame on JGR Acquistions for abusing our legal system in the sole search for a payoff. Hopefully our legal system is smart enough to sniff something like this out and nip it in the bud.
Anything that allows one company to register sole rights to employ simple, logical extentsions of existing business processes - like one click checking out (I mean the technology existed already!) - is bonkers.
It means that poor old small businesses cannot innovate, simply because big companies can buy the rights to really obvious 'new' ideas. I mean, are these small co's going to file for patents every time they think of a slight improvement to the way their website works?!
Thankfully, the British system doesn't allow such nonsense. The idea has to be genuinely new and not a logical extension to something that already existed. Plus, you can't patent processes, only the technology they are based on, which in a certain massive US retailer's case often isn't new anyway.
Just my opinion....
What I thought was kind of fun was how they purchased the patents anonymously through their lawyer, and one of the conditions of sale was that identity be kept secret. It was apparently the first time the judge had ever had that requested of him/her.