April 30, 2007

Supreme Court Patent Action Today [6:50 pm]

  • Obviousness re-established as something that must be carefully considered: KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc.

    We build and create by bringing to the tangible and palpable reality around us new works based on instinct, simple logic, ordinary inferences, extraordinary ideas, and sometimes even genius. These advances, once part of our shared knowledge, define a new threshold from which innovation starts once more. And as progress beginning from higher levels of achievement is expected in the normal course, the results of ordinary innovation are not thesubject of exclusive rights under the patent laws. Were it otherwise patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts.

  • Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.

    Because Microsoft does not export from the United States the copies of Windows installed on the foreign-made computers in question, Microsoft does not “suppl[y] . . . from the United States” “components” of those computers, and therefore is not liable under §271(f)as currently written.

Coverage: LATimes - Patent protections tempered by Supreme Court rulings (pdf)

In a pair of decisions, one in a high-profile case that pitted Microsoft Corp. against AT&T Inc., the court limited the legal rights of inventors and gave judges more flexibility in dealing with patent lawsuits.

[...] All of them reflect a concern at the Supreme Court that the patent system has strayed too far to the side of patent owners,” said Philip Swain, a patent attorney with Foley Hoag in Boston. “They’re trying to push the pendulum back toward the middle.”

Also the NYTimes - High Court Puts Limits on Patents

Patent law experts said the ruling created a common sense standard that could have a broad impact.

“Nearly every patent that contains a combination of prior ideas is at risk because the court has dramatically broadened the standard of obviousness,” said Cynthia Kernick, an intellectual property lawyer at Reed Smith in Pittsburgh.

Later: New Patent Trial Sought by Vonage

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Still Struggling… [6:34 pm]

Well, tried a suggestion I got to take care of the sluggishness (create a “clean” WordPress installation and move all the data into the new databases). Sadly, that has merely demonstrated that the problem I’m dealing with is not with the specific databases that WordPress uses. However, a “pure” HTML page loads blindingly fast, so the problem is still with the database infrastructure — I just need to dig deeper. Unfortunately, the slow performance that you see is even worse when using the web browser to post content, making it really hard for me to stay on top of things. *Sigh* Digging through my.cnf and php.ini - what fun.

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Estimating the Information Content of TV Shows [1:57 pm]

Coming Online Soon: The Five-Minute ‘Charlie’s Angels’

The question probably never occurred to viewers in the 1970s and 1980s, but suddenly it is highly relevant: exactly how much worthwhile entertainment content was there in shows like “Charlie’s Angels,” “T. J. Hooker,” and “Starsky and Hutch”?

The Sony Corporation and its production studio, Sony Pictures Television, which controls the rights to those and many other relics of a distant era of television, have come up with an answer to that question: three and a half to five minutes.

That’s the length Sony has shrunk episodes down to in order to create what the company hopes is an appealing new business in retooling old shows for a new era of entertainment. Sony even has a name for these shrunken slices of television nostalgia: minisodes.

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