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Re: Moglen's post-Bilski trash-talk

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Moglen's post-Bilski trash-talk
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 15:57:03 -0000

David Kastrup wrote:
> Oh, you forgot already again what you were talking about?  As a
> reminder, you brought up that hybrid Toyota car article to counter the

It was Ford not Toyota you idiot.

Regarding Toyota patents:

"Toyota Prius: 2000 patents and counting 

January 19, 2009, 10:07 am 

Filed under: Articles | Tags: clean and sustainable technolgies, hybrid
vehicle, intellectual property, patent, technology

The technology in the Toyota Prius is protected by 2,000 patent
applications, a third of which are for the new third generation
Prius(Have a look at this more recent blog entry for more details on
hybrid vehicle patents) . The Prius, a petrol-electric hybrid vehicle,
is the most fuel efficient car of any size on, for example, US roads. 
It has a reported fuel efficiency of 3.9L per 100km.  Being an early
mover in hybrid technology, Toyota has secured a lot of protected IP to
significant commercial advantage

Leading technologies, like the Prius, warrant comprehensive patent

Toyota’s strategy has made it far too risky to copy the Prius without
Toyota’s blessing.  Having this many patents makes it very difficult for
another manufacturer to copy the Prius and escape liability.  To
illustrate this point, we can consider an example product protected by a
mere 20 patent applications in a particular country.   For a 50% chance
of a competitor being found not the infringe all 20 patents, the
competitor has to be confident that it has more than a 96% chance of a
court finding no infringement in each of the 20 patents – a very tall
order!  The Prius has many more patent applications than 20, and thus it
is exponentially harder to fight Toyota’s patents.  And this assumes
that the other manufacturer can even cover the legal costs to contest
multiple patents in court – patent cases costing more than a million
dollars are not infrequent.

Given the poor odds, Toyota’s competitors are far more likely to seek
licenses for Toyota’s patents rather than risk going to court, placing
Toyota at a very significant commercial advantage.  Toyota could, for
example, simply deny the technology to the competitors stopping them in
their tracks.  Alternatively, Toyota could license the technology for
money or some other consideration. Another possibility is that Toyota
cross licenses the technology, giving the competitor access to the
technology in return for access to a valuable and patented technology of
the competitor.  Cross licensing has been a very successful strategy in
the computer hardware industry, for example, which greatly accelerated
the diffusion of personal computer technologies through the industry. 
Patents are known to provide legal clarity and certainty for technology
transfer, such as cross licensing deals, promoting technology

"Toyota Builds Thicket of Patents Around Hybrid To Block Competitors 


The Obama administration's tough new fuel-efficiency standards could
pose problems for some car makers, but Toyota Motor Corp. is hoping to

The Japanese company is betting the rules will give an advantage to its
expanding lineup of hybrid vehicles, and it also aims to boost revenue
by licensing to other car makers the patents that protect its
fuel-saving technologies.

Since it started developing the gas-electric Prius more than a decade
ago, Toyota has kept its attorneys just as busy as its engineers,
meticulously filing for patents on more than 2,000 systems and
components for its best-selling hybrid. Its third-generation Prius,
which hit showrooms in May, accounts for about half of those patents

Toyota's goal: to make it difficult for other auto makers to develop
their own hybrids without seeking licensing from Toyota, as Ford Motor
Co. already did to make its Escape hybrid and Nissan Motor Co. has for
its Altima hybrid.

"Our system is the best technology for hybrids to get the best carbon
dioxide emissions and best fuel economy. [Rivals] will not be able to
compete," said Gouichiro Kuriyama, a manager in Toyota's product
planning division.

Whether Toyota's strategy will pay off is unclear. While the Prius has
won a strong following among environmental-minded consumers, it will
face stiffer competition to win mass-market appeal.

Almost all car companies are working on more fuel-efficient gasoline
engines that could boost miles-per-gallon ratings enough to damp
interest in hybrids.

Makers also have diesel vehicles coming to the U.S. that deliver nearly
the same fuel economy as the Prius.

View Full Image

Associated Press
Toyota has filed for more than 2,000 patents for its hybrid
technologies. A shopper checks out the 2010 Prius at a Tokyo showroom in

Car makers for decades have sought patents on their innovations, and
Toyota's strategy to seek revenue from its technology is hardly new. But
its early work on hybrids may give it a leg up in the current rush to
create more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Obama administration plans to require fuel economy of cars be 35.5
miles per gallon by 2016. To hit these new targets, many car makers need
to quickly develop highly fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies.

"Toyota's patent-filing strategy has made it far too risky to copy the
Prius without Toyota's blessing," said Justin Blows, a patent attorney
with Griffith Hack Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys in Australia.

In a recent study of intellectual property for hybrid vehicles, Mr.
Blows found that Toyota has about 2,100 patents, nearly double that of
its closest rival, Honda Motor Co. It is a fact that Toyota hasn't been
shy about promoting, as it did in its launch of the new Prius at the
Detroit auto show in January.

Toyota, which isn't known as a particularly litigious company, declined
to say how many attorneys it uses to file and defend its hybrid patents.
No lawsuits involving the patents have become public. Toyota also won't
say how much revenue it has received from licensing its patents, if any.
Patent cross-licensing may involve no exchange of money.

Once ridiculed as impractical and a gimmick, Toyota's hybrid system,
which the car maker plans to make available in all of its vehicles by
2020, has slowly won industry acceptance. "Clearly in the arena of the
hybrid Toyota is far ahead of the others. Their years of endeavor are
now being rewarded," said Tatsuo Yoshida, an analyst at UBS Investment
Research in Tokyo.

To be sure, there are other ways to design hybrids without infringing on
Toyota's patents, as Honda proved.

Toyota's "full hybrid" system weds battery-powered electric motors with
a gasoline engine, allowing it to shift seamlessly between either
electric or gas power as driving conditions and battery charging

Honda's simpler, lower-cost system, called a "mild hybrid," relies
mainly on a highly efficient, lightweight gasoline engine to move the
vehicle, but it is assisted by battery-powered motors.

The new Prius gets 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway,
according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Insight is rated
at 40 mpg city, 43 mpg highway.

A Honda spokeswoman said that while Honda's current hybrid technology
doesn't conflict with Toyota's patents, Honda may encounter the issue as
it develops new technologies, such as hybrid systems for larger

"Patent conflicts happen in every development as auto manufacturers
compete with each other for a new technology," she said.

Instead of trying to catch up to Toyota in hybrid vehicles, Nissan has
chosen to pour its resources into developing a mass-produced electric
car starting in 2010. "

That's what competition is about. Everybody makes a bet on a different
technology and then let the consumer choose," said Nissan Chief
Executive Carlos Ghosn.

Ford, meantime, said it developed its own hybrid technology but agreed
to cross-license patents with Toyota to prevent any legal issues. No
money changed hands, Ford said.

"Our hybrids are 100% Ford-developed and engineered," said spokeswoman
Jennifer Moore by e-mail. Although conceptually the Ford Fusion Hybrid
and Toyota Camry Hybrid are described in similar ways, Ford officials
said the execution and architecture are different.

—Matthew Dolan contributed to this article.

Write to John Murphy at 

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page B1"


(GNG is a derecursive recursive derecursion which pwns GNU since it can 
be infinitely looped as GNGNGNGNG...NGNGNG... and can be said backwards 
too, whereas GNU cannot.)

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