back to article Fairytale for 2019: GNOME to battle a patent troll in court

The GNOME Foundation, maker of the eponymous Linux desktop, has been hit with a sueball over how its Shotwell photo manager, er, manages photos. The plaintiff, Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC, has alleged in a complaint filed at the United States District Court Northern California that defendant, GNOME Foundation, has infringed …

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        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: I have said it before

          As of 14.09.2019, António Campinos (EPO president), along with Bristows, Managing IP and others were still lobbying for software patents, in violation of EPC rules.

          http://techrights.org/2019/09/14/team-upc-boosters-and-swpats/

          His writing is hardly unbiased, but it was the first link I got when searching for Europe Software Patents.

    1. Jonathon Green
      Trollface

      Re: I have said it before

      That or sell hunting licenses. That should work pretty well in Texas...

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: I have said it before

      That wouldn't really work when you look at the original point of patents - I.e., a way to protect the inventor *while* they develop a product and bring it to market.

      If a patent holder isn't developing technologies or products from a patent or actively licensing said patent to others, it should be voided. If no such work or licensing has been evidenced within two years of a patent being granted, it should be voided. Voiding should be undertaken automatically by the patent office if the holder does not produce such evidence themselves within the two year limit (and every two years subsequently to prove progress/ongoing work).

      Additionally, patents should only be granted if they do actually bring significant improvement and genuine competitive advantage to a product or service. E.g., I wouldn't buy a phone *just* because it has rounded corners.

    3. Das Schaf

      Re: I have said it before

      Unfortunately that scheme disadvantages small patent holders against large corporation seeking to exploit their technology. The large corp can make billions infringing, then pay back thousands to the patent holder when they are held to account.

    4. TVU Silver badge

      Re: I have said it before

      "and I will say it again : the only way to neuter patent trolls is to tie the amount of damages to the amount of money the patent troll is making with his patent"

      Regrettably, the USA has become the centre of the burgeoning patent troll industry, this latest nasty example being a case in point. Given that the great majority of such cases are vexatious trying it ons, I'd like to see something like pre-trial screening by judges so that only the valid cases get to go on to a full court case with all the shysters being weeded out.

      This case is particularly malevolent in that they're going after free and open source software - shame on them.

    5. devTrail

      Re: I have said it before

      Your solution doesn't prevent big corporations from filing and obtaining patents as absurd as this one. Did you forget the bounce back patent or the trash bin icon?

      Before proposing any solution we should recognise that the USPTO has become a corrupt tool in the hands of monopolistic companies. These patent trolls are just shell companies designed to shield the real suitors from the bad publicity.

  1. JimPoak

    Patent Trolls

    I'm begging to think they are testing the water, it's like going fishing with had grenades. Gnome and all the other desktops will be nobbled through the all encompassing conditions even though the patent was issued Oct 19, 2017 after the fact. Maybe they should be on the receiving end of a sueball.

    Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC are ordered to Cease and desist the use of the process known as breathing.

    I don't think they will be able to hold their breath for that long before the case can be heard.

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Patent Trolls

      Come to think of it, I had a top on my desk at school. They'd better not be using inkwells or a groove to rest your pens and pencils in.

      On a lighter note, we should be able to settle that perennial pub question - who'd win in a fight a troll or a gnome.

      (Gno gnome icon!)

  2. Dave 15 Silver badge

    I have put in a patent application

    Simple the patent covers anything that does anything possibly using energy from an internal or external source

    Reckon it will sail through

    1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I have put in a patent application

      Good idea, as you have covered all living organisms and plants as well as technology there.

      You will have ... er... a "field" day with that one...

  3. Adair Silver badge

    To hell with Prior Art ...

    I hope the suit fails on the basis of 'Absolute-Mindnumbing-Obviousness' (that is a technical legal term) - with full costs being awarded to the Gnome Foundation, plus a hefty punitive fine to the Trolls for wasting the Court's time.

    Next!

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Patents in the US are socialism for lawyers.

    I couldn't create such a badly organised and unjust system after 20 pints.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Patents in the US are socialism for lawyers.

      I think I read somewhere that the USA produces more law graduates than engineers.

      There is already far too many lawyers for the amount of available work.

      Then most politicians are lawyers who pass laws for other lawyers to enact and make a living.

      Isn't that a perpetual motion machine in operation? (sic)

  5. adam payne Silver badge

    Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC, has alleged in a complaint filed at the United States District Court Northern California that defendant, GNOME Foundation, has infringed its patent for a "Wireless image distribution system and method".

    Targetting a non profit, now that's just sleazy.

    The patent is way too broad and should not have been granted.

  6. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Leave the USA?

    Why don't outfits like Gnome (ie, organisations that don't have any premises (I'm assuming they don't) and are basically an international (and usually payroll-free) effort), just make sure they have no legal presence in the US?

    The same goes for the Linux kernel, which has been the subject of several patent threats over the years.

    Then the USPO/courts etc can sue them til the cows come home and they can just ignore it

  7. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    I can see in the future:

    Some figurehead from the GNOME foundation in a courtroom in Texas:

    Your Honor, in reference to prior art, I submit for your perousal www.pornhub.com. Please take your time reviewing the site to comprehend the depth and breadth of the prior art. I hope that the judicial wifi is up to the work.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: I can see in the future: ..... Heavenly Delights in Hellish Surprises :-)

      Do you see this too, Alistair .....

      The patent itself is quite the broad beast, comprising hardware and, importantly in the case of GNOME (or rather, Shotwell,) a method that involves capturing a bunch of images, filtering them based on a topic, theme or individual, and wirelessly transmitting the filtered images to another device.

      Are Global Operating Devices for Future Presentations with Virtually Real Promotions such a device, and are they Servered via Alternate Memes with Almighty Means too ‽ .

      And how do you capture all of those plum perousal assignments, Your Honour? Take care there, for there's a heck of a lot to quickly learn rather than be overwhelmed by.

      Being Better than Just Good at what One Loves to Do with Love Plays Wonderfully Well Everywhere there as IT is EMPowering in AI Circles with Virtual Networks Stringing Presentations for Earthed Webs.

      Surely that is the Method for Everything to be Known by Anyone and Everyone, and it has always been the Way Going Deeper Forward and Further AIField in the Minds of Patent Titans.

      And thus another prior art instance of an unknown origin?

  8. Maty

    A possible solution ...

    Okay ... so why not file a patent in the USA for 'A thing that does stuff.' Then allow the patent to be licensed to anyone for 1 cent. After 20 years the patent expires, and anyone who invents things that do stuff can do so freely.

  9. Vector
    Facepalm

    Method?

    I went and looked through the patent linked in the article and, basically, there is no method!

    The flowchart of the "preferred embodiment" pretty much comes down to: Establish a wireless connection between 2 devices, capture an image with one, send it to the other. The authors went through several pages of descriptions of this, that and the other, but never really get beyond the simple steps above.

    Ummm, duh? This is not only obvious to anyone skilled in the art, it's obvious to pretty much anyone with a brain.

  10. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
    Mushroom

    After looking at the source patent abstract..

    It looks like that have re-patented television...

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: After looking at the source patent abstract.. there appears a collusion collision/troll crash

      After looking at the source patent abstract..

      It looks like that have re-patented television... ..... Giovani Tapini

      That's exactly what I was asking, GT .....

      Are Global Operating Devices for Future Presentations with Virtually Real Promotions such a device, and are they Servered via Alternate Memes with Almighty Means too ‽ . .... amanfromMars 1

      .... ergo the chance of the probable likelihood of that readily available possible reality is squared. Find another and a few more and very quickly cubed and the exponential rate of such powerful cohesion enters into Almighty Omniscient Territory that Enthrals All with the Antics of the Astutely Autonomous and ACTIvely Anonymous Few.

      Quite perfect for Agile Command, Control and Communication with Systems in Navy, Army and Air Force Institutions.

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