back to article AWS must pay $525M to cloud storage patent holder, says jury

A jury has ordered Amazon Web Services to pay $525 million for infringing distributed data storage patents in a case brought by a technology outfit called Kove IO. Kove, which styles itself as a pioneer in high-performance computer storage and data management technologies, filed its original complaint [PDF] in 2018. It claims …

  1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Are Amazon taking a page out of the trump defence playbook... or is it the other way round?

    We didn't infringe the patents, but if we did, they're invalid.

    1. I like fruits

      Standard lawyering

      Would that be a pretty standard way for any lawyer to describe multiple reasons against something? Asking because fortunately I do not have first-hand experience with a courtroom.

      1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Standard lawyering

        As they've already been found guilty and fined over half a billion dollars... so they're now trying to justify that they 'should' be allowed to infringe them.

        Just like trump's defence all along hasn't been that he's innocent... but trying to give reasons why he should be allowed to commit those crimes.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      The USPTO is notorious for rubber stamping patent applications and letting the courts determine legitimacy. So I have know clue whether this is Amazon walking over a little guy or beating up on a patent troll.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        It may be "notorious", but it's also incorrect. USPTO patent examinations typically take years and rarely result in a patent on initial review — most applications have to be revised and resubmitted. And USPTO has consistently denied around half of all submissions for years now.

        I really wish people would stop repeating this bullshit argument, particularly without citing any evidence. Put up or shut up.

        (I note you have no lack of supporters, which just demonstrates that most people are happy to endorse unsubstantiated claims. Hell, why think when you can just be angry, eh?)

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    This is quite ridiculous.

    These things should have never been allowed to be patented.

    Then they don't contain any inventions.

    This is often driven by investors requiring company to patent anything that moves, so in case the company folds they can have patents to troll with and recoup some of their investment.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Plantents

      Well, thanks for your expert and detailed analysis.

      The bar for a patent is a mechanism which is 1) not already patented, 2) not clearly duplicated by prior art, and 3) not obvious to an ordinary practitioner in the art.

      An ordinary practitioner. I'm quite certain that among a random sample of, say, a hundred software developers, very few would be able to tell me what a distributed hash table is. Do you know what a DHT is, without looking it up? Can you implement one, without doing some research?

      Opinions are cheap. Try coming up with an actual argument.

  3. david 136

    The first of the patents was filed in 2000.

    DHTs don't seem to have appeared in the wild until 2001 or so, in Gnutella, Limewire, Azureus, Bittorrent etc, and the applicability to file system block maps has some novelty.

    If I were Amazon, I'd be annoyed at the patentability too, but the timeline doesn't look great for them.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Specifically, the claimed inventions provide a process by which a client can send a data request to a location server, and if that location server does not contain location information for the requested data, it responds with a redirect message that specifies which location server contains the relevant location information

      This is some bollocks. I know because I have developed such system well before 2000 as we were grappling with various limitations of network and computers then.

      I am sure many others did as well, because that's what you were doing.

      I wouldn't even think of patenting such process, because that's just common sense.

      1. ChoHag Silver badge

        > I wouldn't even think of patenting such process, because that's just common sense.

        Well that's why you haven't just been awarded a half-billion dollars...

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Also because I am not a greedy sociopath.

          1. Aladdin Sane

            You're a generous sociopath?

      2. NeilPost

        That sounds just like DNS.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          No, it really does not. DHTs are a specific family of data structures. They're not just whatever sort of distributed directory you happen to be familiar with.

          1. Lusty

            In the case of Amazon DNS does form a large part of it, it used to be in their docs and was the reason for backwards file naming with most unique parts first.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... even when it affects the bad guys.

  5. t245t Silver badge

    Have Kove invented the distributed database (and hash values) ?

    the three patents-in-suit: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,814,170 (“’170 Patent”); 7,103,640 (“’640 Patent”); and 7,233,978 (“’978 Patent”) (collectively, “patents-insuit”).’

    “Drs. Overton and Bailey addressed these challenges. They realized, among other things, that storing location information associated with data files across multiple servers would reduce the processing time to find a data file .. While the first server may not have the location information for the file the user is looking for, it will reroute — within milliseconds — to another server that does have that location information.”

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meritless IP quest

    As much I would take side for underdogs in this case against AWS I find the claim void and pointless. It only shows how empty ehwd are the folks providing patents and the folks despatching justice in the court system. Distributed hash, spanning tree and even the way internet works as whole has been here for long time and there is nothing new that the folks demonstrated as their invention. Even the old postal system would apply then if their claim really goes through. If they have a mechanism or a distributed algorithm that is specific to them and AWS is using it then the claim would make sense otherwise not is just a money grab. It is ironic Al that a lot of academic works in telecommunications for enabling the distributed networks never got any IP credit for their work as it is really very difficult to have IP claim on them and expect their new algorithms being implemented used by wide range of users.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    One-click patent

    Remember when Amazon basically tried to patent shopping carts and "shopping online" and used it to bash all the other online merchants at the time?

    You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

    1. NeilPost

      Re: One-click patent

      ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’

      according to Dr Henry Jones Sr.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    school shooting, obesity's premature mortality and patent troll

    yikes, hate aws, but I hate patent trolls even more. all they got is people hating on them. checking their workforce on linkedin the company is just an empty shell that tries to act like a geniune company

    they will probably be out of business in a couple of year

    1. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

      Re: school shooting, obesity's premature mortality and patent troll

      Couple of years? I'd close up shop about 2 nanoseconds after the cheque for half a billion dollars clears, if I were them. And move far far away without a forwarding address.

      But I'm not them. Curse you, sense of ethics and lack of chutzpah!

  9. RLWatkins

    Seriously? Someone patented storing data in a computer elsewhere on a public network?

    Does anyone remember General Electric's online service, accessible principally through the Terminet terminal, from back in the late 1960s? It would store files, store data in the database which Bachman invented for GE, and it would run application software.

    I remember it pretty clearly, and I remember it being years old when I first started coding for money in 1973.

  10. david 12 Silver badge

    Submarine Patents

    In the United States, patent applications filed before November 2000 were not published and remained secret until they were granted. Publication is the benefit the public gets from granting patent monopoly rights.

    There was legislation to change that in 1995 and 1999, and the whole (American) system was re-worked in 2011.

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