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Creating A List From A Database? Prepare For A Patent Infringement Suit

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| Thanks to the whole slew of folks who sent this in: TechCrunch has the
| details on Channel Intelligence, a company that owns a ridiculously broad and
| obvious patent on creating a list from a database and is now suing a whole
| bunch of small websites that offer things like wishlists.


Bar code patent invalidated, another notch on EFF's belt

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| The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced another victory for its Patent
| Busting Project last Friday, this time against NeoMedia. The company received
| a comprehensive set of patents that covered information lookups via scanned
| input.


Putting Metadata In Video For Search Purposes? Patented! Microsoft Sued



Ideas Are Everywhere... So Why Do We Limit Them?

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| Gladwell uses this to talk up what Myhrvold is doing, suggesting that
| Intellectual Ventures is really about continuing that process, getting those
| ideas out there -- but he misses the much bigger point: if these ideas are
| the natural progression, almost guaranteed to be discovered by someone sooner
| or later, why do we give a monopoly on these ideas to a single discoverer?
| Myhrvold's whole business model is about monopolizing all of these ideas and
| charging others (who may have discovered them totally independently) to
| actually do something with them. Yet, if Gladwell's premise is correct (and
| there's plenty of evidence included in the article), then Myhrvold's efforts
| shouldn't be seen as a big deal. After all, if it wasn't Myhrvold and his
| friends doing it, others would very likely come up with the same thing sooner
| or later.
| This is especially highlighted in one anecdote in the article, of Myhrvold
| holding a dinner with a bunch of smart people... and an attorney. The group
| spent dinner talking about a bunch of different random ideas, with no real
| goal or purpose -- just "chewing the rag" as one participant put it. But the
| next day the attorney approached them with a typewritten description of 36
| different inventions that were potentially patentable out of the dinner. When
| a random "chewing the rag" conversation turns up 36 monopolies, something is
| wrong. Those aren't inventions that deserve a monopoly.


A Czar for the Digital Peasants

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| One sure sign of a lack of political vision is a rise in the number of pieces
| of acronymic legislation. After September 11, the US Congress passed the
| euphoniously named “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing
| Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act” the
| initials of which spell out “USA – Patriot.” The Patriot Act is a pretty bad
| piece of legislation, but at least its drafters worked hard on the acronyms
| so that opponents could be labelled “anti-patriot” – a perfect level of
| analysis for Fox News. Admittedly, in this administration, having public
| officials torturing acronyms rather than detainees might be counted as a
| plus, but I still find the whole practice distasteful. I'd suggest that
| politicians vow to vote against any piece of legislation with its own
| normatively loaded acronym, no matter how otherwise appealing. It might make
| them focus a little more on the content.
| In any event, Congress has been at it again. The House just passed, and the
| Senate is considering, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for
| Intellectual Property Act of 2008 – or “Pro-IP” Act. (If it passes, a version
| is sure to be urged on Europe as a matter of “harmonisation.”) Are you
| pro-intellectual property? Then surely you must be for this piece of
| legislation! The name says it all.

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