back to article $185m anti-malware patent dispute: Norton and Columbia University fight on

NortonLifeLock and Columbia University's legal tussle over anti-malware patents continued last week, with attorney fees and a new trial in dispute two months after a jury awarded the uni $185 million. In 2013, Columbia sued Norton and accused the company of infringing 167 claims over six patents. Although the May award went …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    none should have won.

    Software patents should not fucking exist.

    They should both fucking lose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: none should have won.


      This stupid system also encourages the creation of more stupid software patents as litigation costs such insane amounts of money that the combatants are fairly much forced to create new stupid patents just to have a chance of not going bankrupt in the process.

      The only winners are the lawyers.


      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: none should have won.

        And they definitely shouldn't be decided by juries.

        Software engineers from a world leading antivirus company and a world leading CS department disagree on whether algorithm A is a direct copy of algorithm B - and the question is decided by 12 random people in East Texas whose day job wasn't valuable enough for them to be excused

        1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

          Juries determine facts

          In simple terms:

          1. When did the alleged infringement occur?

          2. When was the patent covering this infringement granted (or maybe, filed)?

          I agree, bobble heads who use 'password' as their password should not decide if a patent is valid.

          1. Tromos

            Re: Juries determine facts

            Does "bobble heads" deciding patent validity refer to jury members or is it with reference to the USPTO staff that grant them in the first place?

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Juries determine facts

            The problem is with fact 3, if the participants choose to bring it up:

            3. Did the defendant's thing come under the plaintiff's patent?

            If they're arguing about timing like the one mentioned in the article, that's not a problem (yet), but many cases will see the defendant claim that their product is different from the patent, so it's not covered. As for this case, it's still important. If everyone agrees that Norton used the idea in 2009 and the patent wasn't until later, that makes Norton's use of it prior art and invalidates the patent. This means that someone is going to suggest that what Norton did in 2009 wasn't covered under the patent and they added that at a later point after the patent was filed, leading to the same question as before. There's not a great answer to who should decide this, but the average jury isn't going to know.

            1. Joe W Silver badge

              Re: Juries determine facts

              Nope. The patent was filed earlier in this case (ok, one of the two, in 2006). This is the date that is important.

              There are other things like signing lab books to generate documentation about when an invention was made (I think some documents referring to the invention of the transistor float around as images on the web). That might be more useful for generating fame in the scientific community, there are even neckties with the quantum-Hall-effect-labbook excerpt on them.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Juries determine facts

                >This is the date that is important.

                Yes, it is a little surprising that Norton didn't give a start of development date. To include relevant functionality in a 2009 product, means development must have occurred previously.

                A very quick web search gives on the first page: "Symantec to use SONAR to find zero-day attacks"

                Published 16th Jan 2007, okay its not prior to October 25, 2006, but still doesn't look good for Columbia...

                >There are other things like signing lab books to generate documentation about when an invention was made

                I would also be asking for evidence that an implementation of the patented claim existed at the time of filing; without this the filing was for an idea and not an invention.

                Finally, if Columbia are being so precious about their patents, they really should have ensured that relevant parties active in the field where approached about the filing with a licencing offer...

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: none should have won.

      Obligatory favorite Patent Application. As someone who is in charge of IP for my Division on top of my regular duties, I know that many patent applications are filed & then abandoned because it's not worth paying the expenses of patenting for exclusivity but it is worth paying the application fee to preclude anyone else from patenting the "invention". That's almost certainly the case here, where my favorite application is for the business process of Patent Trolling:

      "Patent Acquisition and Assertion by a (Non-Inventor) First Party Against a Second Party"

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Common sense

    I skimmed over one of these patents. These shouldn't have been granted in the first place.

    It literally lists steps that you would want to do to detect anomalies in code execution, if you had common sense.

    Where is the invention there?

    All those companies should have their patents cancelled and be charged for wasting time.

    Corporations that were developing such a thing and then learned it has been patented by someone should be paid compensation.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Common sense

      "Corporations that were developing such a thing and then learned it has been patented by someone should be paid compensation."

      It seems to me that the entire US patent system is based on "if it's not currently patented, register a patent ASAP before someone else does". It doesn't seem to matter if the application is obvious or already in use, the USPO will rubber stamp it and let the courts decide. Meanwhile, those with less deep pockets either have their inventions[*} stolen from under them and go bust, or have to pay ridiculous licencing fees for their own invention.

      [*[ for "inverntion", I mean what said at the start of the post. The "invention" may simply be obvious or public knowledge, ie unpatentable due to prior art.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The Register contacted Columbia's attorneys as well those for Norton. Both have yet to respond."

    Maybe you're lucky - if the responded they might have sent a bill.

  4. chuckufarley Silver badge

    This post has nothing to with text...

    ...but I have to call "Gender Bias" on the graphic used to represent this article. If I am the only one that sees it then fine, I can live with that. However, I do encourage the editors to do a double take.

    1. MrBanana

      Re: This post has nothing to with text...

      Unless the graphic has been changed, two hands armwrestling in front of a set of scales, I have no idea what you are seeing in that image.

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