A money-grubbing Rothschild?
I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you!
After being hit with a patent-infringement lawsuit last month, the GNOME Foundation has fired back with a counterclaim – and urged the courts to dismiss the case. In a memo this week, the non-profit org said Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) – a patent assertion entity (PAE) it characterizes as a "patent troll" – had filed an …
" both financing its operation and financing its abolition. "
Well, there is the question of morality vs pragmatism. If the world's run by slaves, conscientious object costs money that might render you uncompetitive. Then eventually you get the chance to do something about it.
Or maybe it's just that families are made up of different people with different views.
Same here. Haven't been a fan of Gnome's tendency to dumb-down everything (see this prototype of the Gnome4 Desktop) but at least can appreciate their commitment to Open Source.
I expect one reason the offered settlement was a "low" figure was to lure Gnome into settling, thereby establishing a precedent, and making their bullshit patent seem to have an air of legitimacy. You know, like the way Microsoft established an air of legitimacy around *THEIR* bullshit Android patent-trolling.
I support them doing this because each dollar going to fighting patent trolls is one less dollar towards infecting their desktop environment with more systemd effluence, or spreading the infection to other software.
I support going after patent trolls anyway, this other bit is just icing on the cake.
Tolkien's "Gnomes" are generally tall, beautiful, dark-haired, light-skinned, immortal, and typically wise but suffer from pride, tend towards violence, and have an overweening love of the works of their own hands, from Gnome Wiki
in Tolkien's writings they are portrayed as cruel and stupid, with crude habits, although still intelligent enough to communicate with a known language. from Troll Wiki
I am glad to see Gnome taking a stand. I think if more businesses and entities stood against these trolls their business model (which seems close to extortion) would collapse. Time to direct some funds to Gnome to assist their stand. I only hope that this doesn't become a lawyers picnic.
"Those are Elves. Gnomes are small and dirty."
It depends on which author uses the name "gnome". Tolkein being a philologist and professor of language knew that gnome originally meant one who has knowledge probably from the Greek "gnṓmē".
Tolkein used gnome as an early name for the Noldor as they were always searching for knowledge and new ways of working. Fëanor was the most accomplished of the Gnomes and I would not have described him as "small and dirty". Or at least, not to his face!
Other authors of course depict gnomes in other ways.
Ofc, lets not forget that the late, great Sir PTerry described Gnomes as the sober, clean living relatives of Pictsies like the Nac Mac Feegle...
Who were thrown out of Fairyland for being Drunk and Disorderly.
And when a clan of Feegles lives near your farm, expect livestock to move quite quickly without moving their legs. Quite often backwards...
"There can be anly wan thuuusssaaand! Ey Wally!"
The confusion here is that Tolkien originally called one tribe of the Eldar "gnomes". This appears only in some of the posthumously published early texts. In later writing they are called the Noldor. Probably a good idea, gnomes would have given people the wrong idea about this sub-set of the Elves.
"Probably a good idea, gnomes would have given people the wrong idea about this sub-set of the Elves."
Other way around most likely. A huge amount of the modern understanding of such terms comes directly from Tolkien (often filtered through D&D and similar). Elves, goblins, trolls, and such have traditionally described very different beings from the modern high fantasy versions, with huge variety in what they actually mean as well as plenty of overlap between them - there really wasn't any clear and consistent distinction between an elf, a goblin and a gnome once you go back before Tolkien. So if Tolkien had stuck to calling some of his elves gnomes, it's more than likely that people today would understand exactly what he meant because that's what the word "gnome" would have come to mean. It's only because he didn't write about gnomes at all in his published works that we instead have Dragonlance/Warcraft-style gnomes as the popular view.
Apparently Leigh thinks he owns the internet...
Overturning a contrary decision by the patent-friendly Eastern District of Texas, the appellate court required a notorious patent troll practicing this model to pay the defendant’s attorney’s fees. The lower court had given the troll a pass because it dismissed its case early (which would give impunity to any troll that runs away when the defendant fights back). This week’s decision is an important win for victims of abusive litigation.
The patent troll in question is Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations LLC (RCDI). RCDI’s patent on an Internet-connected drink mixer is so stupid we awarded it our August 2015 Stupid Patent of the Month. As we explained in that post, RCDI’s patent not only claimed an obvious idea, but had been expanded so broadly that it effectively covered any kind of remote updating over the Internet.
...on the group of free software zealots so dedicated to their cause that they have spent years coding dozens of different projects just to give all of them away for free versus the group of people so enamored with the idea of making a quick buck that they refuse to do any real work?
Except that the whole point of Koom Valley was that there weren't any good guys or bad guys - just a whole bunch of people who managed to realize that the other side weren't bad guys.
Here however, I think there very clearly *are* good guys and bad guys (and it isn't GNOME who are the bad guys).
Doesn't necessarily help.
RIM eventually invalidated NTP's patents. In the meantime, they paid billions just to be allowed to continue to do business in the US rather than suffer Huawei's predicament. And of course the trauma turned them into a lawyer-dominated company no longer able to innovate and crushed by the rise of Apple and Android.
Good old-fashioned piracy: pay up or cease trading!
 Erm, well, actually that's me speculating and probably rather less than accurate.
While I wish the GNOME Foundation every success, I can't help wondering whether FOSS gives them a hidden strength.
If they win, the unspeakable RPI picks up the costs, and its patent is weakened or invalidated.
If they lose, and there is a massive award plus costs against them, they can fork the project and dissolve the foundation. I've no idea what sort of corporate entity the foundation is, and what guarantees underpin it, but there's no question that its principle asset is in the public domain.
Problem is, that even if this patent is invalidated, these NPEs are fundamentally lawyers in search of patents which they can "monetize". The system encourages this, because patents are assumed to be valid unless someone petitions for re-evaluation, which is neither cheap nor quick.
Meanwhile, people keep getting letters. tSCOg ran this scam for years, though I doubt it was ever profitable. But they do get marks for dogged persistence in the face of overwhelming ridicule. Marks deducted, however, for failing to remain in existence.
"should there be a law against running a business based ENTIRELY on running (baseless) lawsuits ??"
I think there should, but then, again, were I not anon, I'd be sued to no end by the US federation of lawyers !
And the company's name is priceless, really: "Rothschild Patent Imaging" !
So, do I understand their business is not about image, muffins or anything else, but PATENTS. Only.
How uncool and wrong is that ?
"And the company's name is priceless, really: "Rothschild Patent Imaging" !
So, do I understand their business is not about image, muffins or anything else, but PATENTS. Only."
As a layman travelling on the Clapham Omnibus, I would assume from the name that they spend their days scanning in paper patent forms.
Patent trolls do sell something: Licenses of their "Intellectual Property" to people that they have sued for patent infringement. The basic procedure is sue a company for something that technically infringes the troll's patent and the victim cannot easily replace, and then as part of the settlement, the troll offers 'reasonable terms' to license the infringing patent.
From the patent in 2018:
"A system and method for distributing at least one digital photographic image is presented, the system and method comprising at least one capturing device and at least one receiving device disposed in a communicative relation with one another via at least one wireless network"
My Laptop with webcam was doing this over wifi to an image processing server in a datacentre for a now defunct photo processing company in 2003. and anyone with a cameraphone was able to do this (via mms) since for me 2005. I call
bullshit prior art and wish to claim my 125000 doll-hairs.
There was video, image and voice streaming commonly in use well before 2000 and the Internet has been distributing digital images to receiving devices for years before that.
Patents on existing technology should by definition not exist, that they do proves that the system is broken.
For my part I always thought that the issuing body should be paying any legal costs due to their lack of dilligence if this is ever to stop..
There was video, image and voice streaming commonly in use well before 2000 and the Internet has been distributing digital images to receiving devices for years before that.
That's not directly relevant to the '086 patent, which (like any patent) makes specific claims about its "invention". I've looked at '086 and I think it's bogus, but the existence of image streaming prior to 2008 (the prior-art deadline for '086, due to continuations) does not in itself invalidate the patent.
For my part I always thought that the issuing body should be paying any legal costs due to their lack of dilligence
The USPTO performs the diligence that they're required to under law, international agreements, and the parameters established by the USPTO's Executive Committee and the Department of Commerce. In recent years the USPTO has rejected about half of all patent applications; the statistics are available on the USPTO website. If you don't like how the USPTO reviews patent applications, Congress is the place to start.
Penalizing the USPTO, even if it could be done (without explicit legislation it would likely fall foul of sovereign immunity), would just be a draw on Commerce's budget. Since the USPTO is a profit center, it would take a lot of penalties to put any significant economic pressure on Commerce.
Many commentators here on the Reg have simple quick-fix solutions for IP problems. As is usually the case, these are not just simple but simplistic. Complicated problems rarely have acceptable simple solutions.
My Laptop with webcam was doing this over wifi to an image processing server in a datacentre for a now defunct photo processing company in 2003. and anyone with a cameraphone was able to do this (via mms) since for me 2005. I call bullshit prior art and wish to claim my 125000 doll-hairs.
As is usual in these cases, the '086 patent was filed as part of a chain of "continuation patents", which pushes back the deadline for prior art. In the case of the '086 patent, though, Rothschild only managed to chain continuations back to 2008 (US patent 8,204,437), so finding applicable prior art should be pretty easy.
The distinguishing feature (such as it is) of the primary claims in '086 appears to be the notion that this would be a sort of peer-to-peer sharing of image files, possibly with some filtering, so that for example I'd take a photo and it would automatically be transferred to a device used by some friend or family member. I can't think of a specific example of that particular function from before 2008, but this isn't an area I'm especially interested in, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is one. And I don't know how that distinguishing feature applies to GNOME Shotwell, either.
Certainly various phone photo apps have had the capability to automatically upload images to backup sites and photo-sharing sites for a while. It's possible RPI would argue that's outside the claims of '086, as it distinguishes the claimed "invention" from uploading to photo-sharing sites in the initial state-of-the-art section; but it does so on the grounds of manual intervention, so automatic uploads might be considered prior art, assuming there were such apps prior to 2008.
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"I can't think of a specific example of that particular function from before 2008"
Tresidder Union, Stanford, late 1976 or early 1977ish. CROMEMCO Cyclops camera "focused" on the coke machine. When the door was opened & closed a microswitch tripped and notified a computer (IMSAI? MITS? Heath? I can't remember. Something cheap & cheerful.). The computer waited a minute and then took a picture of the coke machine. This was to see if the "out of soda" LEDs were still lit under your cold fizzy of choice. This image was sent automatically via FTP (over NCP, TCP/IP was still in the process of being invented) to every FTP host on the list. Seemed a no-brainer at the time, hardly even worthy of being called a "hack". If you knew how, you could request an update at any time. This photo would only be sent to the FTP space of the requester.
It didn't work worth a shit, because the resolution was so low. Once in a while, if you aligned it just right, you could see if an LED (or two) was on, meaning there was no soda in that slot. If the LED went out, the slot had been refilled ... or something had jiggled the camera. It was up to the user to figure out how to get their particular FTP host to notify them that an image was waiting.
One of the hosts was in SRI's Cellular Packet Radio Van, so the images were transmitted wirelessly on at least a small handful of occasions.
I've used electronic cameras to automatically send me pictures, as needed, ever since. What do you think a remotely viewable security camera does, anyway?
 Dr. Pepper was a favorite of the grad students at the time, and was nearly always sold out. When the camera reported it had been refilled there was a mad dash for the machine ... so I guess the silly kludge worked. It was only operational for a couple weeks.
Yes, low resolution, combined with the fact that the DRAM cells (used as the image sensor) are more sensitive to some wavelengths of than others. A number of "neat tricks" with mirrors, servos, lenses and dynamic focus were tried. If you are still interested in the Cyclops, you might want to look here:
"Said offered settlement appears to be about 20 times less than the typical cost of dealing with a patent claim".
The settlement was described as "high five-figure" - say about $80,000.
Twenty times $80,000 is $1.6 million.
If that is the typical cost of dealing with a patent claim, the USA has a system of patent law that protects only those individuals and organizations that can afford to pay out $1.6 million without blinking - possibly many times, too.
What that amounts to is a system of IP protection that is available only to the wealthy.
Wouldn't it be nice if justice were offered to everyone, rather than being an expensive luxury like a personal jet or a private island?
"Hell hath GNOME fury: Linux desktop org swings ax at patent troll's infringement claim"
^ That's excellent news and I hope that they also succeed like Netgear and Slomin's. In the meantime, if anyone wants to help defeat these patent troll scumbags, voluntary donations are now welcomed at the official GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund.
If everyone was doing this, patent trolls wouldn't exist. The fear of the patent troll is that someone will go to court and invalidate their patent, and then the parent troll won't be able to assert it against anyone. Even Microsoft show some of their VFAT patents (long a boogeyman Microsoft used to assert against everyone) get invalidated in court, and these software patents had more validity in them than the vast majority of software patents the trolls hold.
Why, don't you like a good scoap opera? Talking of which, has HP/Autonomy gone quiet?
You'll recollect that while SCO was about Linux and Unix heritage, the battle was fought by deep-pocketed bigcos. It's entirely possible Gnome will get (or already has) some big corporate backers in this case.
Had it? In 2001 or earlier there was "commonplace" software which met precisely the primary claims of the '086 patent?
Look, I think '086 is a bogus patent. But it does claim a specific "invention", not just "hey, what about transmitting images?". Lots of commentators are throwing around prior-art claims, but few to none are citing specific examples of specific implementations of the specific claims in the patent. And that's how patents work; they're not overturned based on handwaving generalizations.
Criticize harder, in other words.
>But it does claim a specific "invention"
So easy just need RFI to evidence that they did actually have an invention at the time of first filing. ie. a physical manifestation of their 'system and method'. No physical manifestation, fail the patent invention criteria. Now we are talking about fraud...
Not sure why you are getting hung up about 2001, given the first patent application in the chain was made in 2008, by which time it was possible to distribute photos via social media.
However, what is clear from the '086 patent is that it is a "system and method for the distribution of photographic image" whereas Shotwell is an "image organizer designed to provide personal photo management", so totally different.
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