Top 10 Bogus Software Patents That Need to Get Busted

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Top 10 Bogus Software Patents That Need to Get Busted

by Roy Mark

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Acacia Technologies, Patent Number: 5,132,992

EFF says: "Laughably broad patent would cover everything from online distribution of home movies to scanned documents and MP3s. Threatening dozens of small companies, including many home-grown adult Websites. Infringement campaign threatens to chill freedom of expression by limiting small companies' and individuals' ability to stream their content online."

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Acceris, Patent Number: 6,243,373

EFF says: "Overbroad patents cover nearly all current implementations of VOIP, an emerging technology, thus stifling innovation and use of VOIP as a tool of free speech. Crippling the progress of small VOIP developers could undermine ease of communication online."

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Ideaflood/Hoshiko, Patent Number: 6,687,746

EFF says: "Ideaflood built their entire business model on bullying smaller companies into paying licensing fees for overbroad software patents. Threatened many small Website hosting companies. Threatened community site LiveJournal, whose 3 million users each have their own subdomain, and thus standing in the way of LJ users' ability to speak freely in groups."

5 of 11, Patent Number: 6,513,042

EFF says: "Overbroad patent threatens to chill market for distance learning, online books that include tests, online certification tests and software testing done via the Internet. Company reps have told the press that wants to license or sell its patent to a large company who can wrestle more licensing fees out of groups who do online testing."

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Firepond/Polaris, Patent Number: 6,411,947

EFF says: "Patent uses basic natural language processing techniques taught in introductory computer science courses. ... Firepond is aggressively threatening and filing suit against companies in the natural language processing software space. Filed suit against California company Banter for infringement, eventually strong-arming Banter into licensing Firepond's patents."

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Clear Channel/Live Nation, Patent Number: 6,614,729

EFF says: "Claiming to own a monopoly on all-in-one technologies that produce post-concert live recordings on digital media. Forcing bands to use Clear Channel's CD-burning systems instead of their own or those of small startup companies. Threatening to sue anyone who produces post-show live recordings at any of its 100+ venues in the U.S. Inhibiting investment and innovation in the post-event content distribution market."

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Sheldon F. Goldberg, Patent Number: 6,264,560

EFF says: "Threatening small online gaming Websites. ... Claiming to own basic online gaming architecture."

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NeoMedia Technologies, Patent Number: 6,199,048

EFF says: "Threatening small info-aggregating companies such as ScanBuy, AirClic and LScan Technologies. Also, a potential threat to Barcr, an open-source, alpha quality bar-code scanner for Nokia's 60 series camera phones."

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Nintendo, Patent Number: 6,672,963

EFF says: "Threatens reverse-engineering of video games to promote interoperability and emulation by hobbyists and entrepreneurs like Crimson Fire Entertainment and Gambit Studios."

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Seer Systems, Patent Number: 5,886,274

EFF says: "Currently threatening small companies trying to innovate in this field, like Beatnik. Threatening to compromise at least two public media standards—MPEG4 and XMF."

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