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MacRumors
Nov 26, 2007, 02:01 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

As a followup to a report from 2006 (http://www.macrumors.com/2006/04/18/burst-sues-apple-for-itunes-ipod-quicktime-patents/), Apple and Burst.com have settled (http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=795528) their patent dispute for $10 million dollars.

Burst.com sued Apple (http://www.macrumors.com/2006/04/18/burst-sues-apple-for-itunes-ipod-quicktime-patents/) over patent claims involving "the delivery of music or video over the Internet 'faster than real-time.'" This involves the technology involved in streaming and delivering video and audio content on the internet as Apple does with iTunes and Quicktime streaming software.

In the settlement, Apple will pay Burst.com a one-time $10 million license fee for its current patent portfolio. Meanwhile, Burst has one existing and three pending DVR patents that do not fall within this agreement. However, the press release explicitly states that Burst will not sue Apple in the future over these DVR technology patents.


Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/11/26/bursts-10-million-patent-settlement-quicktime-itunes-dvr/)



Consultant
Nov 26, 2007, 02:04 PM
Damnit please stop giving in to patent trolls! If no one gave them any money, then they won't have money to sue!

edcrosay
Nov 26, 2007, 02:05 PM
I'm suprised they settled. It was for fairly cheap though. The patent appeared pretty bogus.

DVR would make the Apple TV worthwhile. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it had DVR functionality.

Peace
Nov 26, 2007, 02:07 PM
Burst has made millions from 3 or 4 companies now.Not just Apple.

twoodcc
Nov 26, 2007, 02:07 PM
DVR would make the Apple TV worthwhile. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it had DVR functionality.

same here. i hope it happens

timnosenzo
Nov 26, 2007, 02:08 PM
Damnit please stop giving in to patent trolls! If no one gave them any money, then they won't have money to sue!

No kidding. This is after they had a settlement with Microsoft for $60 million!

Stella
Nov 26, 2007, 02:10 PM
Damnit please stop giving in to patent trolls! If no one gave them any money, then they won't have money to sue!

If Burst is a ligit company with a product out there, then they aren't really patent trolls. A patent troll is an entity who buys patents , directly or indirectly, without a product and then starts suing. It would be if another company started using multitouch in the same way as Apple's implementation.

Patents are abused and hamper innovation.

emw
Nov 26, 2007, 02:11 PM
I love their website. The main screen contains news links about Burst.com - about 80% of them are legal-related, as opposed to product-related.

Peace
Nov 26, 2007, 02:13 PM
Well it seems since 3 companies have settled/licensed Burst technology they have verifiable legal patents.Kudos to them for standing up to the big guys and collecting.

destroyboredom
Nov 26, 2007, 02:14 PM
I hope they put that money to good use. Like re-design their website that looks like its 10 years old. May be buy themselves some nice Macs and a graphic designer or two.

WestonHarvey1
Nov 26, 2007, 02:15 PM
same here. i hope it happens

What are you guys really asking for here? You want the Apple TV to have a CableCard or a satellite tuner in it?

That isn't what the Apple TV is. The content source is intended to be iTunes - in that regard, it is already a DVR - for online content. It is a big iPod for your living room. It is a Mac that runs only FrontRow that goes in your living room. There are lots of metaphors for it, but something that records traditional television is not one of them. That's not what it was intended for.

I love mine, probably because I accept it for what it is. I'm not interested in traditional TV anymore - as soon as I can get the cable news channels in some streaming format, I will happily ditch my DirecTV and my Tivo... Tivo is a band-aid solution that bridges the gap between the past and the future. Once all content is IP delivered, we won't need DVRs at all.

I just wish it had iTunes Store. It's on the iPhone, so it is time for it to make the jump.

Bonte
Nov 26, 2007, 02:15 PM
No kidding. This is after they had a settlement with Microsoft for $60 million!

Apple clearly won this one, Burst had $5 million legal expenses and had to license all there patents to Apple. Not bad :apple:

plumbingandtech
Nov 26, 2007, 02:22 PM
Interesting.

Better be a HD DVR.

jeremy.king
Nov 26, 2007, 02:23 PM
Apple clearly won this one, Burst had $5 million legal expenses ...

Seems the lawyers won to me :)

~Shard~
Nov 26, 2007, 02:31 PM
DVR in the future? That would be great, but Apple would have to implement things such that it wouldn't cannibalize iTMS sales as a result...

neutrino23
Nov 26, 2007, 02:34 PM
It seems to me that the technology is way more interesting than the content. I just spent a while looking over the next week's programming on TitanTV and I couldn't find anything I wanted to record. This is with a digital tuner. Off topic but it seems that most channels only show movies on the analog broadcasts. The digital broadcasts have very few movies. This will have to change in a few years when they stop broadcasting in analog.

happydude
Nov 26, 2007, 02:46 PM
I'm suprised they settled. It was for fairly cheap though. The patent appeared pretty bogus.

DVR would make the Apple TV worthwhile. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it had DVR functionality.

the cut off to the outside world in general of appletv (no broadcast/cable/satellite tv capability) is what is keeping me from buying an appletv. if one could hook up the cable line/dvr/whathaveyou, i'd be all in.

mmcneil
Nov 26, 2007, 02:49 PM
Whether Burst is a Patent Troll or not - this is another example of a bogus patent issued by the U.S. Patent Office. Not dissimilar from the "One Click" patent and many others - they should not be patenting web & software technologies that build on basic, well understood concepts. Downloading music "faster than real-time" pretty much says it all.

dashiel
Nov 26, 2007, 02:52 PM
What are you guys really asking for here? You want the Apple TV to have a CableCard or a satellite tuner in it?

That isn't what the Apple TV is. The content source is intended to be iTunes - in that regard, it is already a DVR - for online content. It is a big iPod for your living room. It is a Mac that runs only FrontRow that goes in your living room. There are lots of metaphors for it, but something that records traditional television is not one of them. That's not what it was intended for.

I love mine, probably because I accept it for what it is. I'm not interested in traditional TV anymore - as soon as I can get the cable news channels in some streaming format, I will happily ditch my DirecTV and my Tivo... Tivo is a band-aid solution that bridges the gap between the past and the future. Once all content is IP delivered, we won't need DVRs at all.

I just wish it had iTunes Store. It's on the iPhone, so it is time for it to make the jump.

i see this as a strategic move against nbc/universal.

i too only get television through itunes, but at least three shows i subscribed to are no longer available. apple countered the short-sighted move sending a ten-million dollar message effectively saying - "if you don't want to sell your content through us we'll give our users a way to get it for free*"

to be sure it's not the only reason they settled the patent, but it's certainly a very clear threat being sent without officially commenting on future products.

* i know it's not really free, but the content companies' revenue stream is less direct than with the online sales.

hob
Nov 26, 2007, 02:53 PM
That's a total joke. I take it they'll also be sueing YouTube, then?

What is the big deal with patents. If nothing was patented, would the world collapse? No.

If something like the iPhone came out without patents, many would try to copy it - but only those with something better would win out. That would be great for the consumer, and also for innovation in general!

~Shard~
Nov 26, 2007, 03:01 PM
What is the big deal with patents. If nothing was patented, would the world collapse? No.

If something like the iPhone came out without patents, many would try to copy it - but only those with something better would win out. That would be great for the consumer, and also for innovation in general!

Kay, you invent a new technology that could make you millions of dollars and before you release it I'll steal it, claim it as my own (or simply market it better than you) make all the money and send you a Christmas card for your troubles. Sounds fair to me!

:p ;) :D

Raid
Nov 26, 2007, 03:12 PM
DVR would make the Apple TV worthwhile. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it had DVR functionality. I'd buy it too if it had DVR functionality

What are you guys really asking for here? <snip>

I love mine, probably because I accept it for what it is. I'm not interested in traditional TV anymore - as soon as I can get the cable news channels in some streaming format, I will happily ditch my DirecTV and my Tivo... Tivo is a band-aid solution that bridges the gap between the past and the future. Once all content is IP delivered, we won't need DVRs at all.WestonHarvey, if you're happy with your purchase that's fantastic. However a few of us (as evidence from the above posts) find :apple:TV somewhat lacking, especially if you live in a country that doesn't sell TV content through iTunes. Providing DVR capability through the :apple:TV would provide many users with more content (and utility) from the device. THEN I can begin to escape the mold of "traditional TV", and using the simple and elegant platform that is :apple:TV ....but until that day comes my $350 is going to remain in my pocket. :(

Darkroom
Nov 26, 2007, 03:13 PM
What are you guys really asking for here? You want the Apple TV to have a CableCard or a satellite tuner in it?

That isn't what the Apple TV is. The content source is intended to be iTunes - in that regard, it is already a DVR - for online content. It is a big iPod for your living room. It is a Mac that runs only FrontRow that goes in your living room. There are lots of metaphors for it, but something that records traditional television is not one of them. That's not what it was intended for.

I love mine, probably because I accept it for what it is. I'm not interested in traditional TV anymore - as soon as I can get the cable news channels in some streaming format, I will happily ditch my DirecTV and my Tivo... Tivo is a band-aid solution that bridges the gap between the past and the future. Once all content is IP delivered, we won't need DVRs at all.

I just wish it had iTunes Store. It's on the iPhone, so it is time for it to make the jump.

im sorry, but the AppleTV is ass... $299/$399 for an iTunes receiver, a HD and Front Row? please... the AppleTV was specifically designed for yuppies... also, my iPod comes with a screen, did your AppleTV come with a 42" LCD?

until apple includes more useful features like cable/satellite DVR functionality (or even a DVD player!!) into the AppleTV, it'll continue to slide in sales... i can see the apple tv being discontinued easily... maybe it would work in 5-10 years IF the majority of television content is IP delivered (and in countries other than the USA), but until then at least people like you are happy with your AppleTV.

why apple chooses to even market it's Apple TV in their online stores outside of the USA Apple Store is a mystery to me...

Flobber88
Nov 26, 2007, 03:18 PM
What is the big deal with patents. If nothing was patented, would the world collapse? No.

If something like the iPhone came out without patents, many would try to copy it - but only those with something better would win out. That would be great for the consumer, and also for innovation in general!

The world wouldn't collapse but new technology would suck/be non existent. People innovate for the sole purpose of making cash, and if everyone can steal their final products and inventions Apple Inc. would still be just another computer company.

50548
Nov 26, 2007, 03:22 PM
If Burst is a ligit company with a product out there, then they aren't really patent trolls. A patent troll is an entity who buys patents , directly or indirectly, without a product and then starts suing. It would be if another company started using multitouch in the same way as Apple's implementation.

Patents are abused and hamper innovation.

And what the hell is Burst doing with its patents, may you tell me? What products do they have?

Patents are IPR monopolies and should only be granted when real use is made of them...unfortunately, the US leads the way is stupidly frivolous software patents...and it's not gonna change anytime soon.

plumbingandtech
Nov 26, 2007, 03:23 PM
i see this as a strategic move against nbc/universal.

Best post in the thread!

Or to use a term from fake wrestling.... suck on it Jeff Zucker,

Macinposh
Nov 26, 2007, 03:36 PM
What is the big deal with patents. If nothing was patented, would the world collapse? No.


Wow?! How old are you? 17?
You have quite a narrow view on the world..
I bet you think it is ok to leach films and music of the net too?
You know,"all information should be free",the theme of the cyberpunk era?

Clearly you are not working in the industry,be it engineering or design.Well,or working at all?

-If I work for 4 years in my basement and make a record it is ok you to take the material,promote it,claim it your own and go on a world tour earning 30m€ on my music?

-Or I run a team of 144 scientist,spend 1B$ to develop a chemical formula for curing menieres disease and it is OK for you to copy the formula and start selling the drug for 1/4 of price because "well,I dont have to cover the developement expenses because there are none! that dumb git did all the work,now I reap the rewards!"

-Or a manufacturer in china to start making some iMacs,because hey,they made their first 100.000 unit run for apple and now they have few weeks of spare time. Hell, lets copy the os x for the users too. AND lets put in some mp3s,Final cut pro and some music program,say logic8?
Because,hell,who cares about patents and copyrights??!

Hattig
Nov 26, 2007, 03:40 PM
Cheap for Apple, and (many of) the patents are still active for Burst to use against competitors.

farmboy
Nov 26, 2007, 03:48 PM
That's a total joke. I take it they'll also be sueing YouTube, then?

What is the big deal with patents. If nothing was patented, would the world collapse? No.

If something like the iPhone came out without patents, many would try to copy it - but only those with something better would win out. That would be great for the consumer, and also for innovation in general!

No really. If your great idea, on which you spent two hundred thousand (like my very small company) or two hundred million to create, was then made available for free or taken away by someone who can market it better, why would anyone waste the time and huge amounts of my money developing a new idea? It actually inhibits innovation if there is no patent protection.

Maybe some patents should not have been granted, but 97% are legit.

unigolyn
Nov 26, 2007, 03:58 PM
That's a total joke. I take it they'll also be sueing YouTube, then?

Wouldn't that require YouTube actually delivering content faster, not slower, than real-time? I can't remember the last time a video played through without grinding to a halt at least once.

mozmac
Nov 26, 2007, 04:04 PM
Too bad Apple just paid $10 million for a piece of junk. Quicktime streaming is horrible. They should have used that $10 million to create a good streaming solution.

skellener
Nov 26, 2007, 04:05 PM
DVR would make the Apple TV worthwhile. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it had DVR functionality.
Never gonna happen. There is NO DVR in Apple's future. Their model is pay to download.

marco114
Nov 26, 2007, 04:16 PM
It's amazing the crapiola you can patent these days. I think I'll patent air. Not sure anyone has yet but I wouldn't be surprised. It will be scarce eventually.

contoursvt
Nov 26, 2007, 04:19 PM
Looks like they have some multimedia content delivery products...so in this case they do have something.

And what the hell is Burst doing with its patents, may you tell me? What products do they have?

Patents are IPR monopolies and should only be granted when real use is made of them...unfortunately, the US leads the way is stupidly frivolous software patents...and it's not gonna change anytime soon.

psxndc
Nov 26, 2007, 04:29 PM
A couple things:

First, Burst did not sue Apple. Apple filed suit for Declaratory Judgment for non-infringement and invalidity of Burst's patents.

Second, to set the record straight (though no to comment on the validity or invalidity of Burst's portfolio), Burst was a company with an actual product. Microsoft settled with them because Microsoft incorporated Burst's technology and then turned around and hosed Burst at the same time Microsoft was being investigated for anti-trust violations. Since then, Burst has shrunk from a 100+ person company to a like 2 person company with its patent portfolio as its only assets. They are not a troll in the traditional sense because they didn't buy their patents and never made a product - rather they did make a product and it didn't work out.

Regarding the invalidity, I'd like to point out that the oldest patent was filed in 1988, which was way before the big pipes coming into our house that we all enjoy.

I'm not a fan of burst, quite the opposite in fact, but people here should know a little about the facts before flailing around and screaming troll.

scottybe
Nov 26, 2007, 04:47 PM
Burst has one existing and three pending DVR patents that do not fall within this agreement. However, the press release explicitly states that Burst will not sue Apple in the future over these DVR technology patents.

What's the difference between "licensing" and "agreeing not to sue"? Seems like the same thing to me.

Consultant
Nov 26, 2007, 04:52 PM
Well the thing is, most of these patent ideas are so obvious that many people can or might already have come up with it, thought it's totally obvious, and thus never thought to patent it.

It's similar to: Method for humans and other lifeforms to consume solid, liquid, and other types of food... Damn I should patent THAT =p

50548
Nov 26, 2007, 04:57 PM
A couple things:

First, Burst did not sue Apple. Apple filed suit for Declaratory Judgment for non-infringement and invalidity of Burst's patents.

Second, to set the record straight (though no to comment on the validity or invalidity of Burst's portfolio), Burst was a company with an actual product. Microsoft settled with them because Microsoft incorporated Burst's technology and then turned around and hosed Burst at the same time Microsoft was being investigated for anti-trust violations. Since then, Burst has shrunk from a 100+ person company to a like 2 person company with its patent portfolio as its only assets. They are not a troll in the traditional sense because they didn't buy their patents and never made a product - rather they did make a product and it didn't work out.

Regarding the invalidity, I'd like to point out that the oldest patent was filed in 1988, which was way before the big pipes coming into our house that we all enjoy.

I'm not a fan of burst, quite the opposite in fact, but people here should know a little about the facts before flailing around and screaming troll.

Let me rephrase then: software patents ARE stupid and frivolous, apart from those select few that show real novelty/invention, have a component of industrial application and do NOT infringe on prior art.

Only in the U.S. you could imagine patenting something so generic, stupid and "priorartish" as "hierarchic menus", "faster than real time streaming" or "one-click shopping".

It's just criminal what the USPTO does nowadays, granting monopolies to corporations that have little more to do than suing others in order to get some precious money in their balance sheets. Apart from filling USPTO's coffers and protecting American industry in a disguised way, of course...:rolleyes:

powermac_daddy
Nov 26, 2007, 04:57 PM
nice... i like this. 10 mil is not enough.

psxndc
Nov 26, 2007, 05:03 PM
Let me rephrase then: software patents ARE stupid and frivolous, apart from those select few that show real novelty/invention, have a component of industrial application and do NOT infringe on prior art.

Do you believe that hardware is patentable? If so, what is the distinction because all hardware can be simulated in software and all software can be reduced to a hardware form? Seriously, I want to know.

50548
Nov 26, 2007, 05:13 PM
Do you believe that hardware is patentable? If so, what is the distinction because all hardware can be simulated in software and all software can be reduced to a hardware form? Seriously, I want to know.

Of course hardware is patentable; the same doesn't apply to software, especially when we talk of prior art, discoveries and things that have no industrial application at all. If you believe otherwise, you are just breaking a concept of patentable subjects that has been there since ever, for a good reason.

Simple as that.

SthrnCmfrtr
Nov 26, 2007, 05:40 PM
The duration of a patent's exclusivity should be shortened dramatically. Same for copyright.

psxndc
Nov 26, 2007, 05:55 PM
Of course hardware is patentable; the same doesn't apply to software, especially when we talk of prior art, discoveries and things that have no industrial application at all. If you believe otherwise, you are just breaking a concept of patentable subjects that has been there since ever, for a good reason.

Absolute baloney. By that argument, half the stuff that is currently patentable would not be since they are not technically a "process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter" (See 35 U.S.C. 101 for what is literal patentable subject matter). Hardware, i.e., any chip which you say should be patentable, is not a "process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter." If you argue that it is something manufactured, I say computer code on a disc is just as manufactured. And software has dozens and dozens of industrial applications. What do you think drives half the machines that manufacture all of our toys and gadgets?

I appreciate that being from Switzerland you have a different perspective because the EU laws require, as I understand it, a technical effect, i.e., an effect that occurs outside the computer which is why software by itself is not patentable in the EU, but the same requirement is not laid out in US patent law.

And the technical effect itself is easy enough to overcome. Have the software flip a switch or turn something on and *bam* patentable subject matter in the EU.

You have yet to articulate a reason why software shouldn't be and hardware should other than "well hardware should be because it always has been."

-p-

aliquis-
Nov 26, 2007, 06:02 PM
Silly patent, to bad they paid, as long as some people does they will keep existing.

psxndc
Nov 26, 2007, 06:09 PM
The duration of a patent's exclusivity should be shortened dramatically. Same for copyright.

Why?

This is what I would love to see on message boards - people make a statement like that above and actually articulate a reason for it. I may or may not disagree, but I have no way of knowing why you think they should be shortened. You think the monopoly is artificially long? You think for certain subject matters there should be a shorter time than others (e.g., some say software patents should only be for 5 years due to the rapidity of development and the time it takes to get anything through the patent office).

Why should copyright be shortened? Because it already compensates authors or their families? Should it be shortened for just corporations that publish the work?

Why why why?

rockinrocker
Nov 26, 2007, 08:49 PM
Never gonna happen. There is NO DVR in Apple's future. Their model is pay to download.

except for the tv shows that are getting pulled.....

i think dvr would be a great idea, and would buy one for sure if the next gen. started coming w/ 'em.

dusanv
Nov 26, 2007, 09:01 PM
Let me rephrase then: software patents ARE stupid and frivolous, apart from those select few that show real novelty/invention, have a component of industrial application and do NOT infringe on prior art.

Only in the U.S. you could imagine patenting something so generic, stupid and "priorartish" as "hierarchic menus", "faster than real time streaming" or "one-click shopping".

It's just criminal what the USPTO does nowadays, granting monopolies to corporations that have little more to do than suing others in order to get some precious money in their balance sheets. Apart from filling USPTO's coffers and protecting American industry in a disguised way, of course...:rolleyes:
Amen. Apple should stop paying the trolls.

.Andy
Nov 26, 2007, 09:07 PM
Too bad Apple just paid $10 million for a piece of junk. Quicktime streaming is horrible. They should have used that $10 million to create a good streaming solution.
Perhaps they did. From my reading for $10 million they got access to Burst's current patent portoflio along with;
Meanwhile, Burst has one existing and three pending DVR patents that do not fall within this agreement. However, the press release explicitly states that Burst will not sue Apple in the future over these DVR technology patents.
So they got access to DVR patents as well. Not just Quicktime streaming.

dusanv
Nov 26, 2007, 09:12 PM
Why?

This is what I would love to see on message boards - people make a statement like that above and actually articulate a reason for it. I may or may not disagree, but I have no way of knowing why you think they should be shortened. You think the monopoly is artificially long? You think for certain subject matters there should be a shorter time than others (e.g., some say software patents should only be for 5 years due to the rapidity of development and the time it takes to get anything through the patent office).

Why should copyright be shortened? Because it already compensates authors or their families? Should it be shortened for just corporations that publish the work?

Why why why?
OK, I'll bite. The copyright is used to spur creation of art by allowing the artist financial benefit of his/hers creation. When the copyright lasts 90 (or however many) years *after* the death of the artist as it does now, you have to know something is wrong. The copyright, as it is right now, is set to benefit the copyright owners (not the original artist) and has lost its original purpose. In effect, the copyright owners (big media) have legislated themselves into easy profit with this extremely long copyright term. This situation benefits nobody but them, not the artists and not the audience. The situation with patents is similar. And the matter is not helped by USPTO, which will patent absolutely anything (ridiculous patents like One-click by Amazon or e-mail over wireless by NTP come to mind).

psxndc
Nov 26, 2007, 11:30 PM
OK, I'll bite. The copyright is used to spur creation of art by allowing the artist financial benefit of his/hers creation. When the copyright lasts 90 (or however many) years *after* the death of the artist as it does now, you have to know something is wrong. The copyright, as it is right now, is set to benefit the copyright owners (not the original artist) and has lost its original purpose. In effect, the copyright owners (big media) have legislated themselves into easy profit with this extremely long copyright term. This situation benefits nobody but them, not the artists and not the audience. The situation with patents is similar. And the matter is not helped by USPTO, which will patent absolutely anything (ridiculous patents like One-click by Amazon or e-mail over wireless by NTP come to mind).

OK, 1) the giving of protection after the life of the author was actually to benefit the author's family, i.e., author writes a book in his later years, dies, and then only the publisher got anything from the book because copyright died with the author. The extension past the author's life was to benefit the family so they got SOMEthing. I'll concede that corporations have had a big hand in extending the copyright length. I do not think you are necessarily wrong in saying copyright length should be shortened, but at least you articulated a reason which is 95% more than other people do. 2) The situation is not at all similar with patents though. If anything, patent term has been shortened in the last 12 years. Specifically, the patent is only good from its earliest priority date (usually the filing date, but may be earlier if it claims an earlier priority date from an earlier filing). It used to be that patents were enforceable for 17 years after it issued which is what caused people to keep filing application after application as the earlier one was about to issue because the patentee got a fresh set of 17 year protection from each application as it issued (these are the submarine patents). Now, however, and since 1995, no matter how many applications are filed, the term starts from the earliest filing date and only runs 20 years.

Lastly, people complain that it is too easy to get a patent. Do you have one? Have you gone through the process of getting one? Because I have - in fact it's what I do day in and day out and it is not nearly as easy as everyone thinks. In fact, the Supreme Court just made it harder than ever earlier this year with the KSR case. Yes, there are many patents out there that would get invalidated because the examiners in the late 90's and early 2000's were inundated and didn't have the tools to effectively conduct prior art searches, but the PTO has significantly cracked down on what is allowable and are pursuing peer review programs to put all available prior art in front of the Examiner.

In context of the Burst case, the judge invalidated some of the claims, but some of them survived, which means even what Apple could find that may have been prior art apparently wasn't enough. Sometimes, and I am not conceding that this is the case, hindsight is 20/20 and what seems obvious now, may not really have been.

People think that to get a patent that someone has to invent a completely revolutionary idea and that's simply not the case - the patent system is supposed to reward innovation by granting patents on improvements. Baby steps are patentable - they don't have to be for, and shouldn't be, giant leaps forward. If they were, no one would develop improvements since they couldn't assure protection of their invested time and energy.

dusanv
Nov 27, 2007, 12:02 AM
Lastly, people complain that it is too easy to get a patent. Do you have one? Have you gone through the process of getting one?
Not personally, but a family member has, some 10 years ago. It wasn't rocket science and patents got granted just fine. It'd be nice they implement a peer reviewed system as the current one just doesn't work but I'm not holding my breath. They've done a lot of damage already by issuing so many crazy patents. A couple of really over the top ones:
-Method of compressing any data (truly random included) down to 1 bit. (http://gailly.net/05533051.html)
-Cosine algorithm for relatively small angles. (LOL!!) (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,434,582.PN.&OS=PN/6,434,582&RS=PN/6,434,582)
-Method of selling cereal (http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2451/)
-Swing patent (my personal favorite) (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,368,227.PN.&OS=PN/6,368,227&RS=PN/6,368,227)
-Wheel patent (Australia) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1418165.stm)
The system seem completely broken to me and they've got a *long* way to go to fix it.

edit: small improvements shouldn't be patentable, only inventions. But it's more money for the lawyers this way...

egsaxy
Nov 27, 2007, 12:33 AM
how much cash would it have cost apple to just buy burst in its entirety? wouldn't that be problem solved as well as obtaining people who care and know about the technologies to make iTunes delivery better?

Swift
Nov 27, 2007, 02:24 AM
They pretty much smacked them. Burst had wanted much more. They paid $10 mil for the whole patent portfolio in perpetuum.

GregA
Nov 27, 2007, 07:03 AM
i see this as a strategic move against nbc/universal.

i too only get television through itunes, but at least three shows i subscribed to are no longer available. apple countered the short-sighted move sending a ten-million dollar message effectively saying - "if you don't want to sell your content through us we'll give our users a way to get it for free*"

Apple is certainly reliant on the TV/movie producers at present. Offering a DVR removes that reliance, and it's kind of dangerous for NBC really - why buy the shows if you can record them for free and skip ads?

A DVR can record ANY show on FTA at all, not just those that are sold on iTunes. In countries that don't have iTunes TV (or any country that doesn't have EVERY show on FTA available on iTunes) it makes the AppleTV more attractive. And the shows are now often high definition... oh, and no download problems over the internet for people with slower connections.

The thing I'm wondering is... why wouldn't they have already done that? I can only think that Steve wants (wanted?) to bypass the OLD model TV, entirely.

Have the studios encouraged him to change his mind entirely? Or can he perhaps use this as a stick to encourage all the studios to jump into iTunes (by preventing ad skipping for any show that is sold through iTunes perhaps?)

psxndc
Nov 27, 2007, 12:55 PM
edit: small improvements shouldn't be patentable, only inventions. But it's more money for the lawyers this way...

So what is an "invention" then? Define it.

Getting a patent shouldn't be rocket science because anyone can and should be able to file for a patent - you don't need an attorney.

I'm not completely oblivious - some patents are just plain bad, e.g., the swing patent you mentioned. But some solve actual problems, e.g., the cosine one you cited appears to address a problem that people had with the CORDIC system of calculating cosines of angles with magnitudes close to zero. It doesn't have to be some revolutionary leap forward. The whole point of the patent, the way it is supposed to promote science, is to say "hey world, I've figured out a solution to a problem and here's how you do it." In return, the government says "thanks for letting everyone know. In return, you get to prevent people from doing that for 20 years because after that, everyone benefits from you telling us how you did it"

You also realize it's not the lawyers that get the money for patents, right? The patent office gets fees for issuing patents - if anyone is incentivized by money, it's the PTO though companies, such as AMD for the cosine patent, seem to think it's worth investing in.

I'd love to see what people think of trademark or trade secret protection which can last indefinitely. Why aren't people screaming because Coca Cola hasn't released their formula yet or allow anyone to use the cursive C?

Any way, there are problems with the system, and effort is being put forth by a lot of parties to fix it. The patent office even announced rules that you would have to do searches for prior art and summarize them all (something you never had to do before) that were supposed to go into effect Nov. 1st (but were temporarily blocked). The PTO also limits the number of claims people can file so they can't get a patent on 800 variations of the same invention. They also limited the number of continuation applications you can file.

kingtj
Nov 27, 2007, 02:42 PM
You must live in China! :)

Seriously though, the patent system is severely broken, and I think a good part of that is simply because patents already exist for so many good ideas, we don't have enough things qualifying as true "inventions" left to submit new patents on. We end up with people trying to patent anything they can slip through the system, hoping it will "stick".

The potential reward for a successful patent infringement suit mean it's potentially more profitable to churn out bogus patents than to produce a new product in the first place.

Furthermore, it seems big companies like to throw around the number of patents they've successfully obtained as a "badge of honor". IBM, for example, often markets the fact that they produce *hundreds* of new patents per year.

It's a very real problem that someone could steal a great new idea from you, copy it, out-market you with it, and make all the money you were SUPPOSED to be making on the concept. BUT, far more often, it seems people just claim to have invented some basic concept, or minute detail that really can't add a whole lot of "value" to ANY shipping product. Then they sit around waiting for the next guy to try to use that idea, so they can pounce on them in court for it.


Kay, you invent a new technology that could make you millions of dollars and before you release it I'll steal it, claim it as my own (or simply market it better than you) make all the money and send you a Christmas card for your troubles. Sounds fair to me!

:p ;) :D

SonomaGreen
Dec 20, 2007, 05:35 PM
And what the hell is Burst doing with its patents, may you tell me? What products do they have?

Patents are IPR monopolies and should only be granted when real use is made of them...unfortunately, the US leads the way is stupidly frivolous software patents...and it's not gonna change anytime soon.

How would you feel if you built a technology company, found your golden ticket to success - only to have Apple and Microsoft and Real Player and AOL... steal the idea and make your company obsolete? I feel for these little guys! What's 10 million to Appple when it could mean everything to a small company that got royally hosed.

I love Apple, but if they stole the technology, they should get slapped on the hands and forced to pay up to the little guy. They settled, which means they knew they'd lose if they were in a court of law. Good for Burst.com for holding their ground.

~Z

SonomaGreen
Dec 20, 2007, 05:53 PM
OK, 1) the giving of protection after the life of the author was actually to benefit the author's family, i.e., author writes a book in his later years, dies, and then only the publisher got anything from the book because copyright died with the author. The extension past the author's life was to benefit the family so they got SOMEthing. I'll concede that corporations have had a big hand in extending the copyright length. I do not think you are necessarily wrong in saying copyright length should be shortened, but at least you articulated a reason which is 95% more than other people do. 2) The situation is not at all similar with patents though. If anything, patent term has been shortened in the last 12 years. Specifically, the patent is only good from its earliest priority date (usually the filing date, but may be earlier if it claims an earlier priority date from an earlier filing). It used to be that patents were enforceable for 17 years after it issued which is what caused people to keep filing application after application as the earlier one was about to issue because the patentee got a fresh set of 17 year protection from each application as it issued (these are the submarine patents). Now, however, and since 1995, no matter how many applications are filed, the term starts from the earliest filing date and only runs 20 years.

Lastly, people complain that it is too easy to get a patent. Do you have one? Have you gone through the process of getting one? Because I have - in fact it's what I do day in and day out and it is not nearly as easy as everyone thinks. In fact, the Supreme Court just made it harder than ever earlier this year with the KSR case. Yes, there are many patents out there that would get invalidated because the examiners in the late 90's and early 2000's were inundated and didn't have the tools to effectively conduct prior art searches, but the PTO has significantly cracked down on what is allowable and are pursuing peer review programs to put all available prior art in front of the Examiner.

In context of the Burst case, the judge invalidated some of the claims, but some of them survived, which means even what Apple could find that may have been prior art apparently wasn't enough. Sometimes, and I am not conceding that this is the case, hindsight is 20/20 and what seems obvious now, may not really have been.

People think that to get a patent that someone has to invent a completely revolutionary idea and that's simply not the case - the patent system is supposed to reward innovation by granting patents on improvements. Baby steps are patentable - they don't have to be for, and shouldn't be, giant leaps forward. If they were, no one would develop improvements since they couldn't assure protection of their invested time and energy.

This is awesome stuff. Thanks PSXNDC for the insight. Very interesting.

RRutter
Jan 2, 2008, 01:53 AM
Damnit please stop giving in to patent trolls! If no one gave them any money, then they won't have money to sue!

:apple: and Steve Jobbs just wanted to get it over with... People get so jealous that iTunes is the way they don't have to go to the music store or to go and rent movies anymore that they make stupid disputes "faster than real-time"? Maybe because :apple: made it that way!

:apple: