Friday, August 27, 2010
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM
"They're the everyday fixtures of the Internet experience: pop-up stock quotes on a website, suggestions for related reading near a news article, videos along the side of your screen. Now, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen says he owns the technology behind all these ideas, and he's demanding that some of the world's top Web companies pay up to use them."
Above: He's the dude with the beard.
I've come down hard on patent trolls before, and though I have respect for Allen as the co-founder of Microsoft, the patents he's suing eBay, Google, Facebook, and others for seem like they have the whiff of troll on them. Check them out:
U.S. PATENT NO. 6,263,507:Allows a site to offer suggestions to consumers for items related to what they're currently viewing, or related to online activities of others in the case of social-networking sites. (Accused violators: AOL, Apple, eBay, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, YouTube)
U.S. PATENT NO. 6,034,652, U.S. PATENT NO. 6,788,314:Enables ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user's main activity. (AOL, Apple, Google, Yahoo)
U.S. PATENT NO. 6,757,682:Allows readers of a news story to quickly locate stories related to a particular subject, among other things. (AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, YouTube)
Do those seem like true innovations to you? Or more like obvious evolutions of previously established technologies? Should software even be patentable at all?