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Re: Tom Tom and Microsofts Linux patent lock-down ..

From: Rex Ballard
Subject: Re: Tom Tom and Microsofts Linux patent lock-down ..
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 15:34:33 -0700 (PDT)
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Mar 15, 11:09 am, Doug Mentohl <> wrote:
> 7 wrote:
> > TomTom is better off spending its energies eliminating FAT from all its 
> > products and encouraging other manufacturers to do the same
> There's also the case of the third party code .. see here what the
> actual patented 'invention' is ...

> (Vehicle computer system with open platform)

> (Vehicle computer system with wireless internet, 1999)
At Federal Express, the DADS unit provided Wireless Internet from the
FedEx courier vans to the local stations via radio signals.  The
SuperTracker (first PDA), was inserted into an interface that read
data from the tracker and sent the information to the Federal Express
COSMOS IIB system. - ALL of this was in place in 1987.  Patents would
have expired if the technology could have been patented at that time.

Anything since then could have been intuitively derived.  The Cellular
phone network itself was patented, but plugging a PDA to a cell phone
chip instead of a 2-way radio is easily an intuitive leap.  Many of
the details of the system where disclosed when Federal Express filed
for, and won, the Malcom Baldridge Award in 1990.

> (Method and system for generating driving directions, 2003)

LIFE 911 systems for emergency dispatch systems have been around since
1985.  Computer Consoles had technology for getting routing and
dispatch instructions to emergency service personnel.

Bill Gates wrote a program to help locate and route Car Pool members -
back in 1974-5, on his PDP-11, about 3 years BEFORE he formed Micro-

Several popular "maze solving" algorythms, including several
implemented in Prolog, with weights, speeds, and other "optimal
routing" factors have been around since the early 1980s on UNIX
systems.  Similar technology is still used today to provide optimal
routing of TCP/IP traffic.  Again, Microsoft has to prove that it was
THEIR code that was stolen, and not code that was intuitively derived
from all the Open Source, BSD, and UNIX code, much of which was
federally funded.

> (Methods and Arrangements for Interacting with Controllable Objects
> within a Graphical User Interface Environment Using Various Input
> Mechanisms, 2000)

Small-Talk - 1976.  Byte Magazine did a nice article on it in 1979.

X11 - provided interaction in 1987 that didn't appear on Windows until
Windows 2000.

> (Portable computing device-integrated appliance, 2005)

Fedex - Supertracker - 1985

> (Common name space for long and short filenames, 1996)

Unix - 1968

> (Method and System for File System Management Using a Flash-Erasable,
> Programmable, Read-only Memory, 1992)

FORTH - 1986
Unix - 1988
Back then, it was called EEPROM.


Microsoft makes up new terminology for concepts that have been around
for years, and now they want to claim patent rights on those concepts
based on their ability to evade patent search algorithms and

On each of these patents, was ANY of this prior art listed?

Did Microsoft describe how their specific implementation was DIFFERENT
from the prior art?

Did Microsoft describe how their specific implementations were SIMILAR
to the prior art?

If not, then the patent applications were fraudulent.

Microsoft should be punished for filing the fraudulent patents, as
well as for fraudulently attempting to extort consideration (money,
market advantage, collusion against competitors, ...) using a
fraudulentnly obtained patent.

Even today, can Microsoft prove that the Linux implementations are
EXACTLY THE SAME as the Microsoft implementations.  Remember, a
software patent does not protect an idea or an algorythm, only a
specific IMPLEMENTATION of an algorythm.

To keep their patent, Microsoft would have to prove that the Linux
    A.  Had access to the proprietary and protected Microsoft code.
    B.  Had used this proprietary and protected code as his PRIMARY
source of information for the implementation.
    C.  Had knowingly submitted this specific implementation to the
OSS project in question.
    D.  Had informed the Linux community and it's customers that the
contributed code was stolen.

If you create a new and better paper clip, that doesn't mean you own
exclusive rights to every kind of paper clip that has ever been
designed or implemented.  In fact, if you don't list prior
implementations that are similar to yours, even if the patents have
expired, your patent application would be fraudulent.

If you did list all of the prior versions of paper clips, would your
particular implementation be considered original?  Many patent
applications are denied because it's obvious that the invention could
be intuitively derived from existing technology.

Unfortunately, the patent office has been horrible at managing the
archives of "prior art" with regard to software, and companies like
IBM, HP, Sun, Texas Instuments, and many others are listing as much of
their prior art, along with much of the prior art in public domain
(from a patent law point of view), including GPL, LGPL, OSS, and
federally funded software "devices" just to make sure that some
"poacher" doesn't try to patent the heap sort or floating point.

One of the biggest problems is that most companies didn't keep
detailed records of software development for 40 years.

Keep in mind that if NASA had been able to patent all of the devices
they invented as part of all of their projects, the agency would be
completely self-funded and could probably afford to send manned
expeditions to Mars if they wanted to.  NASA created most of the
technology used in computers, cell phones, GPS devices, Integrated
Circuits, long-life batteries, and thousands of other devices - all of
which are in daily use.  However, because the projects were federally
funded, and government agencies didn't document "patentable"
inventions, many of the inventions were patented by contractors,
vendors, and other third parties - usually those who mass-produced the
technology first, not by the actual developers themselves.

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