back to article Wells Fargo patent troll case has finance world all aquiver so Barclays, TD Bank sign up to Open Invention Network

Barclays Bank is to join the Open Invention Network (OIN), as is Canada-based Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank Group, in order to resist what Barclays told us are "overt or veiled threats of litigation from patent trolls." The OIN exists to reduce the threat of licence and patent infringement cases against open-source software. All …

  1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Thank Halliburton

    For filing a patent of the business process of patent trolling, and then abandoning the application so the concept is public domain. Had someone patented the business process, they'd have been able to block all the other trolls.

    United States Patent Application 20080270152, "Patent Acquisition and Assertion by a (Non-Inventor) First Party Against a Second Party "

    https://www.freepatentsonline.com/20080270152.pdf

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Thank Halliburton

      No, it started with how the USPTO works and Edison.

      Patent Trolls started with Edison. He was one.

      It's a direct consequence of the deliberate design of how the USPTO works. Rather than spending money on checking validity, prior art, obvious to someone versed in the Art, Novelty etc, they approve, because then they get paid. The theory is that invalid approvals should be challenged in Court. This is since the Victorian Era and favours big companies and most of all lawyers. Apple might spend more on Patent related costs than real R&D. In reality the actual iPhone Patents and Design Patents (UK= Registered Designs) are laughable and should have been cancelled. But Samsung is an Alien owned company in the USA.

      IBM and Qualcomm are practically patent trolls.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thank Halliburton

        No, it's because the US Patent system was implicitly set up with the intention of screwing foreign businesses by stealing their patents, which the US refused to recognise.

        The people who founded the system openly advertised for people to steal industrial secrets and bring them over to the USA and then ammended their patent law in 1793 so that foreigners couldn't patent things in the USA, as this was defeating the object of their system.

        The fact this system now causes the USA horrendous patent problems causes the rest of the world severe anguish, as you can imagine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thank Halliburton

          So you're complaint is that you Brits did a lot of underhanded things & even passed Laws screwing British workers and British colonies, and it not only didn't work, but the ungrateful oppressed bastards turned the tables on you. Bwahh!

          1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Thank Halliburton

            -1 for WhatAboutism

  2. David Neil

    Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

    Do the cheque imaging patents extend to the UK/EU, or are Barclays singing up because they are exposed by US business?

    1. gobaskof
      Joke

      Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

      "Do the cheque imaging patents extend to the UK/EU" - They may also have to extend back into the past to find significant usage!

    2. Adelio Silver badge

      Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

      Since in the UK cheques are almost non existant i think it is moot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

        Although cheques are rare in terms of proportion of total transactions, quite a few are still processed every week; enough for Barclays to have automated machines to scan cheques in cash processing centres.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

        There are still many people (and small businesses) who use cheques; e.g. members of the older generation for whom friends are flesh and blood they have actually met and spoken with. Online banking is not something they want (or need) to take on. Cash and cheques do fine and online banking, just like telephone banking, is no more than an option. With bank branches deserting the high streets, especially in small towns and rural areas, photographing cheques is an essential link.

        1. WhereAmI?

          Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

          If you're in the UK and are owed vehicle excise duty after you've sold the vehicle, it will arrive by cheque (I'm looking at one here for a whole £11.30 after I sold a motorcycle). It was only last year for the first time that money owed to me by the Inland Revenue (yes!!!) was paid electronically; prior to that it was always a cheque.

        2. GreyWolf

          Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

          In which country? The use of cheques varies enormously, so does the validity of your comments.

    3. Grikath

      Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

      Patents are national grants , so a US patent is not valid outside the US. The move is mainly against trolls in the US.

      The UK/EU is also not really a place where patent trolls thrive, simply because the payouts on a possible win are much smaller and more based in reality ( starting with the simple issue of requiring someone to actively use the patent for something other than litigation in a lot of cases...) , and the UK/EU patent agencies are ( as yet ) a lot stricter in what they allow as a patent, so there's far less "frivolous"/obvious/insane patents that can be used as ammunition in a case compared to the situation that has evolved in the US.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

        Also, EU courts confirmed that software patents are a stupid idea and software is already covered by copyright, so there is no need for and there are no software patents.

        1. David Neil

          Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

          So, nothing for transactions in the EU, but a bank with a presence in the US such as HSBC may find themselves afoul of this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: payouts on a possible win are much smaller

        however, as with all other aspects of "the internets", also related to business, crime, and the area in between, the economies of scale / and / or process automation, has made it possible to scam and steal from people and businesses on a large scale, and from the comfort of your chair. I have an impression that this is already well-embedded in stealing from individuals (every little helps, says the fake-link bot...). Currently, we witness a wave of ransom attacks against larger businesses, which might easily go after smaller ones, if the tools are automated enough and "cybersecurity" area doesn't catch up. So, possibly, with patent-trolling, as they start from the biggest targets yielding biggest profits, it will, I think, cascade down.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The greed of banks

    As you sow so shall you reap.

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The greed of banks

      Yes, pardon my cynicism, but I find it hard to imagine Barclays as a victim or a contributor to free software. The headline could so easily have read "plucky inventors band together to get some of what they are owed from bank cartels".

      The patent system corpse allows leeches to feed on all sides.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: The greed of banks

        No, this is the other way round. Patent trolls, sorry, PAEs, have invented nothing, they bought up patents "going cheap", when the inventor either went bust or needed a cash injection and sold off their patents. These entities then go around taking pot-shots at companies in the hope they will capitulate and license the patents they bought.

        I'm guessing that the banks are using a lot of Linux and open source databases etc. on their back-ends and are being approached by patent trolls to get them to cover the use of Linux on their servers, plus bespoke software for certain common banking tasks.

        With "real" patent holders, you can often go into a cross-licensing agreement, but with a PAE, they only want money, because the only thing they "make" is money through licensing their dodgy patents.

      2. not.known@this.address Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: The greed of banks

        But it won't be the Executives who feed the patent troll, and the shareholders will be shielded as much as possible - it is the customers who have to rely on the banks but cannot afford to be shareholders themselves who will suffer.

        Low to non-existent interest rates, "local" branches in big cities only, charges to use cash machines or conduct online transactions, excessive charges for automated communications (£25+ for the Accounts software to tell the letter-writing software to send a letter to the automated printing-and-envelope-stuffing machine, really?) and exorbitant overdraft rates (should be the same as the interest they pay when THEY have OUR money!) are where any such payments would come from, not the executives or shareholders.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please... Define acronyms that will be used later

    For many people, PAE means something other than "patent assertion entity". If you absolutely *must* use PAE without defining it, at least have the common courtesy of preceding it with "blood-sucking" so the reader can tell you're not talking about a Linux kernel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please... Define acronyms that will be used later

      It is defined: in the third paragraph, where it's first used.

  5. Falmari Silver badge
    WTF?

    Patent the bloody obvious!

    I loved to see the patent for “taking a picture of a cheque and sending it to your bank and having it deposited”.

    What is there to patent, ever since the camera you have been able to take a picture and send to someone first snail mail and now send digitally.

    Why is the cheque special? Sending a picture or photocopy of a doc and other things like passports is common and when sent the receiver will act on it.

    1. RM Myers Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

      Good point. There is only one problem with your argument: you are using logic, and the article is about the US patent system, where logic goes to die. And I'm only half joking, unfortunately.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

        That does seem to make sense. The stories we read about, in El Reg and elsewhere, do seem to support the view that in the USA it's possible to patent a business idea that is no more than doing what people are going to do anyway- devoid of any originality of thinking.

        1. gerryg

          Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

          The problem is how the US patent system works in practice. Litigation is king. The system relies on the Courts to prove the validity or otherwise. Along with jurisdiction shopping it can seem to be cheaper and quicker to buy off the troll rather than litigate.

          However, studying how protection rackets work didn't seem to make it into the MBA syllabus as otherwise many more businesses would have signed up to OIN sooner

          1. General Purpose Bronze badge

            Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

            studying how protection rackets work didn't seem to make it into the MBA syllabus

            Maybe studying how to work protection rackets made it onto the syllabus first.

          2. gobaskof

            Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

            "The problem is how the US patent system works in practice. Litigation is king." - Pretty much. The Patent office does check for "prior art" before granting a patent, but it only really checks other patents for prior art. This means that really obvious things, and things that people have been doing for years can get though.

            It is also really bad at applying the US Supreme Court decision on Alice vs CLS Bank. This boils down to "that think we already do, but on a computer" is not patentable. Remember slide to unlock patent fiasco? Turns out you can find slide to unlock has been used for millennia.

          3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

            >otherwise many more businesses would have signed up to OIN sooner

            It only really protects you from being sued by someone else in the business.

            eg if Oracle tries to sue say Redhat then they can bring down all of the patents of all the OIN members onto Larry

            If you are being sued by Bermuda Patent Troll #123 Ltd whose only asset is this single patent - it doesn't do much good

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

            US rules of business

            Those that can do...

            Those that can't sue, sue and sue again.

            All the lawyers for

            - Patent Trolls

            - Ambulance chasers

            basically all of them apart from Public Prosecutors and Pro-bono lawyers need stringing up.

            you can start with those two [redacted] that defended Trumpo.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

      I loved to see the patent for “taking a picture of a cheque and sending it to your bank and having it deposited”.

      https://patents.justia.com/patent/10380683

      Just love the original patent was filed in 2010 and the 2016 'continuation' contains this gem:

      In one embodiment, the user's bank may receive and process the image of the check to obtain deposit information (e.g., via optical character recognition, etc.), and complete the requested deposit based on the deposit information.

      Which seems to include the banks pre-existing deposit machines that include OCR cheque scanning; which have been a feature of the UK high street for years prior to 2010...

      1. GreyWolf

        Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

        Your are right. Cheque scanners have been around since the 1960s.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

          "Cheque scanners have been around since the 1960s."

          My flatmate in 1990 was writing OCR and settlement processing software for them in New Zealand, so there's a prior art example (he died 5 years ago, so can't be a witness)

          (All that's needed to invalidate the patent is any form of prior art elsewhere in the world more than 12 months prior to filing date and ther really should be plenty of that)

      2. Falmari Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

        @Roland6 cheers from that link I went to here so I could see the diagrams as well https://patents.google.com/patent/US10380683B1/en.

        It is one of those process patents a sort of the steps that happen. No actual invention just we need to follow these steps using whatever existing tools (and future) you like for each of the steps.

        From the looks of it I could take a photo of a cheque walk into my bank the cashier looks at the photo types in the details to deposit the cheque that would be infringing that patent. Certainly, if I emailed an image of the cheque and then the bank followed the rest of those steps it would infringe that patent.

        How the hell can that steaming pile of crap be patentable? It is just a list of things that can already be done.

        Could Wells Fargo not tried to have the patent invalidated through the patent office?

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

          Damn the more I think about it there is nothing in that patent that banks do not already do. The process is exactly the same process that backs follow when they receive a cheque just replace cheque with a copy.

          E.G. stick a cheque in the mail to a bank which on receipt they process follows the same steps as email image to a bank which on receipt they process.

  6. Blackjack Silver badge

    Once again, patent law in the USA is insane and needs an urgent reform.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Someone patended swinging sideways on a childs' swing around 2003 to illustrate this point

      newscientist.com/article/dn2178-boy-takes-swing-at-us-patents (it was invalidated a year later due to prior art - a patent filed in the 1990s)

  7. Johnny Canuck

    TD may have seen the writing on the wall as they are into the cheque cashing by picture business.

  8. Sitaram Chamarty
    WTF?

    USAA a patent troll?

    I'm curious why USAA has been labelled a troll (if I connect the headline to the details correctly).

    Wasn't troll supposed to denote entity that don't actually use the tech themselves in some way? I.e., a "non-practicing entity"

    USAA is hardly a "non-practicing entity", in fact quite the opposite.

    1. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: USAA a patent troll?

      I agree they are not a troll but all they have done is patent a process that banks already do just added some more delivery methods using a copy, delivery methods which banks already had, email etc.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: USAA a patent troll?

      >USAA is hardly a "non-practicing entity", in fact quite the opposite.

      Looking at their website, it is clear they are into "financial services", but they don't include cheque clearing, so given the dubious nature of the patent(*) would seem to qualify as a troll...

      (*) Be interesting to see the details of the judgement, as from a quick reading of the patent, not seen anything that would have qualified as an 'invention' in 2010. However, given the judge has ruled, that is largely immaterial as USAA have a judgement they can wave around and judges won't look any further, unless Wells Fargo appeals, potentially all the way to the Capital...

      1. HandlesMessiah

        Re: USAA a patent troll?

        Regarding their definition as a "financial services company" and to correct some misinformation: USAA were originally an auto insurance company, that has since expanded to other forms of insurance, banking, and investment.

        With respect to this patent/feature: they're a bank. In fact, they're my bank. They only have about three branch offices (as they were originally set up to provide banking to far-flung members of the US military who could be transferred anywhere, but have since expanded their client base), and have been a leader in remote banking given that about 99.937% of their depositors live far away from a teller (my closest would be about 2500 km away).

        They introduced the idea of mobile check (or cheque, if you prefer) deposit a decade ago and I was thrilled that they did so, as previously I was having to deposit checks through the mail.

        So yes, they ARE involved in check clearing. They aren't somebody that came up with an idea and stuffed it into a vault to bring out for litigation later. They're the originator of a hell of a useful feature, which other banks have now copied. As such, they shouldn't be referred to as a patent troll.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: USAA a patent troll?

          "They're the originator of a hell of a useful feature, which other banks have now copied."

          No, they are not. This was being done by other people in the 1990s

          1. HandlesMessiah

            Re: USAA a patent troll?

            If you are arguing that checks were being deposited by mobile phone and image recognition in the 1990s, I'm going to say you are mistaken.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: USAA a patent troll?

              >If you are arguing that checks were being deposited by mobile phone and image recognition in the 1990s, I'm going to say you are mistaken.

              Agree, however, the claims made in the patent do try to cover the pre-existing imaging and workflow processes, including those based on reading magnetic ink...

              It will be interesting to see whether USAA tries to assert the patent outside of the US.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: USAA a patent troll?

          >They introduced the idea of mobile check (or cheque, if you prefer) deposit a decade ago

          I was using "mobile cheques" as described by this patent in the UK in 2008 (can't remember if they were around before then as until them I didn't have a need for the service), so you are correct they merely 'introduced' something that was already being used elsewhere; ie. they did not invent it, a necessary precondition for the issue of a valid patent.

          1. HandlesMessiah

            Re: USAA a patent troll?

            Don't live in the UK so I can't speak to that, but they were definitely the originator of the feature in the US. If there's an argument to invalidate the patent on the basis of prior art, that's valid.

  9. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Both Patents and Copyright were setup to protect the PERSON or PERSONS who registered the Patent and the CREATOR of the Copyrighted item. Patents mostly expire after 20 years, but Copyright is more complex now being mostly 70 years AFTER the death of the creator. In what way does 70 years AFTER their death protect the creator? It may protect their heirs (who didn't create it) but what it currently does is in most cases is allow companies to make money from something they had NOTHING to do with.

    Companies owning Copyright is a ridiculous idea and will soon suppress creativity altogether.

    Allowing Patents to be held by anyone other than the original creator(s) is equally ridiculous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Patents need to be transferrable

      A common business model for small high-tech companies is

      1) Invent something cool and patent it.

      2) Get bought out by big company who exploits the invention.

      The directors of the small company are happy. They have made a lot of money from their invention without any of the hassle of manufacturing a product, marketing it, distributing it, scaling up production to meet demand etc. etc. The big company deals with all that.

      The big company is happy. They have a new product which they can sell at a profit.

      It only works if the inventors can assign the rights to the patent to SmallCo., who can transfer them to BigCo. when they get bought out. Otherwise BigCo. has no way of stopping RivalCo. from copying the invention.

      Intellectual property is just that - property. It's an asset just like the company's physical assets. And if the company can make money by selling it, then they are allowed to do so. And when a company goes bankrupt, its IP gets sold on, just like the rest of the company's assets.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: Patents need to be transferrable

        Problem is, USA patent law doesn't actually require you to do anything but have the idea, explain it and patent it. That's it.

        USA patent law is broken because:

        1) It doesn't require you to actually build or.program anything.

        2( It doesn't require you to actually use the patent or lose it like it happens with copyrighting fictional characters names.

        3) Is too expensive to prove in court that a patent is invalid.

        4) Patents can be made of things that already exists, and were invented by other people. And unlike copyright " prior art" does not apply unless something has been already in use for many decades and there would be public backlash if it was patented.

        5) You can literally patent anything that cannot be proven to have been in use for many decades already; like for example Apple patented a pizza box design.

        6)The USA refuses any attempt for a worldwide unified patent law regulations.

        7) You don't even need to prove something actually works to patent it.

      2. Big_Boomer Silver badge

        Re: Patents need to be transferrable

        I disagree. A Patent or Copyright can be leased under a variety of different lease conditions, both exclusive and non-exclusive but should never be allowed to be sold outright. That way the patenter/copyrighter can earn from their creativity and others can pay to use their creation, but the actual Patent/Copyright stays with the creator. Under current law you are right, it is a "property" but only because it is currently allowed to be sold.

        Apart from preventing the sale of Patents and Copyrights, I would also limit Copyright to the lifetime of the Copywriter.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Companies owning Copyright is a ridiculous idea and will soon suppress creativity altogether.

      Might make it difficult to get funding for films, especially films which aren't opening weekend blockbusters.

      With no copyright, or very short copyright, I have no foreign TV, or streaming sales. I can only make money for the initial cinema run, and even then I no longer get any licencing fee from the toys, t-shirt and fast-food tie-ins.

      >Allowing Patents to be held by anyone other than the original creator(s) is equally ridiculous.

      Then they have no value to the original creator if they can't be sold.

      I have a patent on an improvement to MRI machines. It's assigned to the consultancy company I worked for at the time. It's only of value to them because they can sell/licence the technology to makers of MRI machines. Neither me nor the company can make an MRI machine so if the patent couldn't be sold it would never be produced.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "With no copyright, or very short copyright, "

        Then you return to the days of the late 19th/early 20th century which in many ways had more idea innovation than now.

    3. yetanotheraoc

      Who benefits?

      "Both Patents and Copyright were setup to protect the PERSON or PERSONS who registered the Patent and the CREATOR of the Copyrighted item."

      That's the theory. But the *way* they were set up was clearly designed to benefit the lawyers.

      * I hold a patent/copyright, sue you for infringement - lawyers happy.

      * You want to do business as usual, sue to invalidate my patent - lawyers happy.

      * The lower the bar for granting patent/copyright, the more created, thus the more total litigation - lawyers very happy.

    4. keith_w Bronze badge

      That is a totally mickey mouse idea.

  10. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    We're back to the usual thing of the patent system being utterly broken.

    Sooner or later it's going to have to be fixed, but that will take an effort of international co-operation. Ho hum.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      > but that will take an effort of international co-operation. Ho hum.

      If you leave enforcement upto the nations - yes.

      If corporations decide to take it into their own hands....

      Sue a member of "The Organisation" for a software patent and suddenly you are blocked of from Twitter and Facebook, Google don't list you, Microsoft Office rejects your email etc

  11. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Perhaps markets do have wisdom

    Powerful financial entities appear to be grasping the fact that rather than promoting innovation 'intellectual property' (IP) stifles it. Realisation has been long in coming but should have immense consequences.

    Despite powerful rearguard action there must come a point when the penny drops that ideas cannot be owned and neither can their expression in digital format. This applying across the entire range of culture from 'pop' songs to academic literature. The Internet is daily making this obvious. Modern times Luddites are people and organisations stuck in pre-digital ways of thinking. They continue to assert IP 'rights' and rely upon destructive rentier economics supported by monopolies in a pseudo-market that assumes IP tradable in the same manner as physical goods. The assumption is false because ideas and digital sequences cannot be forced into the mould of scarcity, supply and demand, and price discovery.

    Law attempting to prop-up erstaz markets is inherently bad law. Bad because ultimately it is not enforceable when people rebel. An irony is that Luddites were engaged in cottage industries. These were replaced by more efficient mass production. The modern variety are corporate entities and conglomerates anxious to preserve control over culture and able to sustain gross inefficiency via ability to price gouge in context of monopoly. I perceive an unstoppable imperative to localise production of physical and digital artefacts, the former according to local need/demand. Hence return to the cottage.

    Making this inevitable are technologies like 3D-printing. These fit well into localised economies, in some cases down to the individual household. To use these technologies one need be in possession of requisite raw materials and a recipe for assembly. The latter is digital and easily shared and distributed regardless of modern law supporting neo-Luddites. This technology is extending into manufacture of pharmaceuticals, possibly soon tailored to needs of individual patients.

    Localisation carries forth to production of entirely digital products such as film and recorded music. Hollywood and the recorded music industries are under threat from more versatile and less risk averse independents.

    The dying rentier business model primarily supports a plethora of intermediaries and distributors. It is lazy and based upon 'entitlement'.

    The new way of doing things recognises that ideas and their expression in digital format are not commodities. What can be sold on an open market is skill in their creation. Possession of reputation replaces copyright and patents. People and cottage industries thus endowed may on basis of current achievements seek voluntary patronage for continuation. That just as Leonardo da Vinci did. He relied on wealthy patrons and the church. Modern innovators have, via the Internet, access to the entire globe. They can solicit donations from admirers and finance big projects via crowd funding.

    Essential for reputation is attribution. That is the only area where law is applicable. The sin of plagiarism and attempts to gain financial advantage by misrepresenting oneself as another of reputation requires civil, and sometimes criminal, legal remedy.

  12. spold

    Some history

    In the early 90s I actually was the project manager for IBM's project with Barclays for Image-based cheque recognition. The actual technology wasn't actually in-house IBM, it was a third party out of the US (Something like Check Decisions but I can't be accurate). It was a bolt-on option for the IBM 3890/3897 cheque sorters. These were amazing machines to witness working as thousands of cheques whizzed through them - primarily they were sorted by the FI number.... is it ours "on-us" or another bank. In the early hours of the morning then little trucks would tour the City in London carting the other bank's cheques over to them. They would then stuff them through their 3890s again to sort down to branch level. The image-based system had a couple of aims - stop moving trucks of paper everywhere, secondly introduce signature recognition to help with fraud. The general process was called "truncation" - the other aim was to get rid of staff in branches that would inspect/handle cheques. Also, they could introduce the little pictures of your cheques in your monthly statement instead of sending you packets of your cheques. The fun part, and the almost but not quite happened wheeze I came up with was based around the fact that American signatures are actually slightly different from UK ones (don't ask me why), so this affected the signature recognition confidence accuracy. Obviously, you can't go pulling cheques out of the banking system for long, and they had some stupid rule about using old cheques. So I proposed grabbing 100,000 cheques out of a Friday night batch, sticking them (and me) on Concorde to the US, stuffing them through the vendor's signature training systems, and then putting them and me back on Concorde to have them back in the system before Monday. The whole thing didn't fly (haha) because British Airways would not guarantee the integrity of the "cargo" for the flight. I thought it one of my better ideas though.

    1. yetanotheraoc

      Re: Some history

      "So I proposed grabbing 100,000 cheques out of a Friday night batch, sticking them (and me) on Concorde to the US, stuffing them through the vendor's signature training systems, and then putting them and me back on Concorde to have them back in the system before Monday."

      Signature training systems - oh, if only someone had thought to patent AI back then.

      Seriously, though, if their system could only train on cheques that hadn't been scanned yet, it wasn't modular enough. They should have been able to train on the signatures independently of the scanner, in which case you could have just sent cheque images.

  13. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Linux

    Indeed

    "It's no secret that we were designed from the outset to be to deal with a monolithic operating company risk, which was largely to deal with Microsoft,"

    .

    Excellent way of putting it...

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