Category Archives: Patents

Co-inventor Peter Cassidy with U.S. Patent 8,494,955 B2

Peter Cassidy with NCM 0007 Method, system, and service for quantifying network risk to price insurance premiums and bonds, by John S. Quarterman, Peter F. Cassidy, and Gretchen K. Phillips. One of several InternetPerils patents, this one nine years in the making, issued this summer.

NCM 0007 Method, system, and service for quantifying network risk to price insurance premiums and bonds
Picture by John S. Quarterman for InternetPerils, Inc., San Francisco, CA, 15 September 2013.

Claim 1:

A method for determining financial loss related to performance of an internetwork, comprising: Continue reading

Microsoft RICO

Microsoft claims that I (and possibly you, dear reader) am violating 235 of its patents on Windows by running Ubuntu Linux:

After many earlier rounds of saber-rattling and FUD, Microsoft has announced that Free Software users — including everyone who, like me, uses Ubuntu Linux — are violating at least 235 of Microsoft’s patents, though they don’t say which ones. Microsoft are now threatening end users of GNU/Linux (that’s you and me again) with lawsuits unless we pay them protection money. "Nice operating system you got there, it’d be a shame if something were to happen to it."

The Microsoft position is this: even if you don’t use Windows, you still have to pay them as much money as they would have gotten for selling you a copy of it.

Microsoft says GNU/Linux violates 235+ Windows patents, Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, Monday, May 14, 2007

Microsoft did stop short of saying it would sue Linux users or its own customers:

Continue reading

Knuth on Patents

This is not exactly news, but it’s still relevant:
Algorithms are exactly as basic to software as words are to writers, because they are the fundamental building blocks needed to make interesting products. What would happen if individual lawyers could patent their methods of defense, or if Supreme Court justices could patent their precedents?

Letter to the Patent Office, From Professor Donald Knuth, February 1994

Dr. Knuth points out that he couldn’t have written TeX, the formatting language used in most mathematical and physics texts, if software patents had been possible at the time.

Patent thickets can become so thick that nothing gets through. That’s not good risk management.


IT vs. Big Pharma

It’s IT vs. Big Pharma in the patent arena:

Canada-based KSR manufactures gas pedals for General Motors Corp. It made a pedal that can be adjusted for the height of the driver and uses electronic signals rather than a mechanical cable to accelerate when the pedal is pushed.

Both features were developed separately _ the adjustable pedal over 25 years ago _ but Teleflex, a manufacturer based in Limerick, Pa., sued KSR in 2002, claiming that KSR’s combination of the two features infringed on a patent it was issued in May 2001.

KSR argued that the patent should be invalidated because the combination of the two features is obvious.

Businesses Split on Patent Case, By Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press, Friday, November 24, 2006; 8:29 PM

In the patent reform corner, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and others. In the no-reform corner: Johnson & Johnson, GE, DuPont, etc.

This case is expected by many parties to produce some sort of landmark ruling, probably with some sort of change to existing patent law. We’ll see.


PS: Thanks, Johnny.