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Lawsuit Accuses Microsoft Of HoloLens Patent Infringement

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bit_user

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Not saying it's true in this case, but sometimes "David" turns out to be a patent troll.

What's more likely is that MS was already developing something similar, which is a perfectly good reason not to acquire or license the other company. This is not so implausible, as the development of Hololens actually stretches back, long before Kinect. However, citing its patents as prior art and then failing to license them was definitely a bad move.
 
PATENTS have become a nightmare in general. Some of them are quite vague. The original INTENTION is to protect a company's investment long enough that someone doesn't quickly STEAL their ideas...

A patent should involve some EFFORT in time and money, and certainly should not be something that is common knowledge (just not done yet)... You know what APPLE patented? How ROUND their phones were on the four edges... that is NOT what a patent is meant for so it's just a mess...

WORSE perhaps is that many companies are looking for ways to make things that do NOT violate patents which end up being an INFERIOR design.
 

mihen

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I really don't like patents and wish they would go back to the original use of patents. 7 years and must be signed by the Secretary of State. Knowledge of a certain technology can help advance society so it would be best for it to be known while the patent holder has 7 years to make use of it.
It should be restricted to technology and healthcare.
 

shrapnel_indie

Distinguished






Yeah, SCO was a known patent troll years ago.... Other times the bigger company squashes the little one with dragging a case out forever (MS has done this very thing in the past) either forcing the little guy to give up or go under.

Patents have indeed become a nightmare. Between people approving them that have no knowledge in the field the patent has been applied for... between failing a complete background check on the patent.... between (allegations) of big companies paying for a retro-dated patent that usurps the one in question.... between patents on look and feel.... between vague patents.... between perpetual life-time patents.... get the idea? It is indeed a mess.

Patents are definitely not what they were, and not what they were meant to be. I'd vote for them returning to their roots for life of the patent. TBH, Copyrights are in the same boat. They are not what they were and not what they were meant to be anymore either. Both have been changed to benefit companies beyond reasonable gains.


Am I against patents and copyrights? Nope. I am against the abuse, and legal modification of the laws that can perpetually monopolize patented and/or copyrighted things, especially things that are beyond any useful commercial life. I also think that it's fine for all fields, not just tech and medical, to be able to patent things... I also think that, in the modern age, if you are a profitable company, you have no real excuse not to develop products on a patent, and sell them... No extensions. Now someone else like an individual with little funds to develop and sell products, sure, they can get ONE extension. Sell a patent to a profitable company? No extensions. Sell to a shell company or a subsidiary, regardless of profitability of that company/subsidiary... NO EXTENSIONS. But... as long as companies lobby (and "buy" legislation)... that will never happen.
 

waynes

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Hm, I was trying to get my hands on some advanced vr chips to do something like hololens within three years before the hololens project was even announced to have existed, and bingo, hololens came along. Hopefully it was parallel development (but on a number of occasions those that had opportunity to access my private work cashed in).

Anyway, I hope this is not the same company that I contacted years ago to ask about their patent coverage quoting prior art from before their patent came out. If it is the same company, I contacted them because I had doubts about the patent in question, but they seemed intent. I can't remember if what was being claimed which I was referring too, was just too obvious. We get problems with patent examiners, on the one hand, they let obvious stuff through. On the other hand, they can be presented with something they, and most people, would not think of because it is so unobvious to them, but because the trolls have seen how it links together, it now is obvious to them and they deny it. But it begs the question, if it was so obvious, then how come everybody isn't doing it? The old saying, "in hindsight" things you wouldn't dream of become obvious. That's what prior art searches are supposed to show.

Maybe Microsoft quoted the patent in support of something else outside it's granted claims, but the company maybe making claims on something else in the patent which Microsoft didn't realise. What happens sometimes, is companies interpret their parents as covering situations it doesn't seem to cover not come near. Squint your eyes enough and lots of things look like similar blobs you might like to claim IP on. Thanks is the sort of thing that happened in visual design, but intellectually, it is similar in patent IP handling. What can you get away with, what you should not get away with.

If the criminal law was applied to patents, retrospectively, as it should, then the prisons would find themselves with potentially hundreds of thousands of new customers. But because the law on patents is so light on, the patent system is a mess of corruption. I knew a guy that went through one of the biggest patent calamities, and still nobody in jail, and the criminal law would even have applied in the case.
 

irfbhatt

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Big companies are patent trolls, and it was always like this. Small companies are those who are doing investment because they cant bought another small companies.))
 

therealduckofdeath

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This is why US is losing. The US is killing domestic innovation with their 19th century patent laws arbitrarily applied to technology and digital representations. Rounded corners. Flat tablet. Bouncing animations. Swipe gesture on touch screens. Holographic rendering on video...
 

Sakkura

Illustrious
The article is incorrect. The court ruled that Oculus did NOT misappropriate trade secrets from Zenimax.

Also, Zenimax is not a small company by any stretch of the imagination. Probably larger than Oculus itself, though of course nowhere near the size of Facebook.
 

mihen

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It's not 19th century, it's the extension of patents in the 20th century. The gilded age didn't have nearly as bad a time with patents, especially with the limited communication ability where you actually had to mail things.
 

bit_user

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"Advanced VR chips"? Like what, exactly?

You know MS had to make a custom DSP, right? If there were some "advanced VR chips" they could get off-the-shelf, especially back in 2012, I think they wouldn't have bothered.


No, that's not what it means to beg the question.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question


Well, lots of reasons. Many times, people weren't doing something not because nobody thought of it, but because some enabling technology wasn't sufficiently mature. VR and AR are prime examples of this - the compute horsepower just wasn't available until very recently.

In other cases, people were doing it, but the construction of software makes it difficult to see. It's not like a physical mechanism you can easily dismantle and see exactly how it's working. Yes, you can (usually) disassemble source code (if you even know which source code to examine), but it can be extremely difficult to piece together the big picture of how it works. Like trying to rebuild the Colosseum from a list of which bricks are connected to each other.


IMO, patents should be handled like laws, where even a bill that's been passed and signed into law can be challenged as unconstitutional or superseded by another law. So, the main effort in prior art searches wouldn't tend to happen until the owner attempts to enforce a patent.

The other way to address patent trolls is to make it expensive enough to submit patent applications and then to have some non-trivial annual renewal fee to keep a patent in force. That way, it becomes very expensive for companies to accumulate large numbers of frivolous patents that wouldn't withstand litigation, and they would merely focus on those few patents that are truly fundamental and novel.

Finally, if you sue for patent infringement and lose, then you should automatically have to pay the court costs (but not the defendant's legal fees - though perhaps they could sue to recoup those, if your litigation was deemed frivolous). This would create an added disincentive for trolls to try and game the system.
 

jimmysmitty

Champion
Moderator
The problem with patents is how they apply.. It is much like the Apple suit and "rounded corners on a smart phone". It is just stupid if they have one plan and someone else has a different plan/idea for how to do or make something.

Patents are fine for protecting a companies property but the biggest problem I see is that it stifles innovation and competition when the patent holder is unwilling to work with companies for a decent amount of compensation..

Guess Microsoft will either settle or buy them out. After all Hololense has a ton of applications in the medical field and I doubt they want to delay that.
 

gggplaya

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As an engineer with several patents, I take issue with your statement. 7 years is not a lot of time. From the time I have an idea, start prototyping, refining, doing more prototypes, perfecting the science overcoming road blocks and hurdles, banging my head against a wall, then making rough manufacturing prebuilds, refining those builds, then going into full production, it might be 4-5 years from the time I file the patent while prototyping. Meanwhile during that time several employees have left the company and went to work for our competitor at a higher salary. So you're saying by the time we hit full production, we only get a roughly 2-3 year exclusivity on the invention??? By the time that first production hits the shelves, our competitors have purchased it and are reverse engineering it. When the remainder of the 7 year patent runs out, they're in full production and hitting the shelves the very next day. They wouldn't have spent anywhere near as much time trying to figure out how to make it work. They didn't have all the road blocks and hurdles during prototyping. They didn't put in the countless hours and years working late trying to make it work. They just copy it, and make a few tweaks and put it on the shelves. That hardly seems fair to the inventor at all.

Dyson vacuums, for example, was awarded his patent in 1986. But he was a garage inventor, investing his own money and nearly bankrupting his family for his invention. As soon as he had a working prototype, he was already trying to sell it to manufacturers in 1983 before his patent went through. He licensed it to a japanese company and called it G-Force which started production in 1986 and Dyson used that license money to pay for his own Dyson DC01 which sold in 1983. A full 7 years after the patent was awarded. If the patent ended, he could have had competitors selling similar vacuums before he could launch his own vacuum. Instead, he was protected by the patent and able to successfully launch the Dyson Vacuum, which people enjoy today.

 

berezini.2013

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Could care less.
 

gggplaya

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Sure, if you're the type that loves to reap the benefits off the hard work of others.
 

bit_user

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If you use technology products, then broken patent law affects you in the form of more expensive products and a slower rate of improvement. If you work in a technology-related job, then it affects you by reducing investment, which also reduces employment opportunities and therefore salaries.

I get that it's not terribly exciting, but there are also lots of boring laws regarding trade, finance, etc. that have a pretty dramatic effect on society, the world, and the people within it. Law only seems boring, until you understand what's at stake.

Patent law is particularly broken, because even well-meaning legislators mostly hear about it from the perspective of various lobbyists (and note that pharma has different interests here than tech firms), which must surely skew their perception of what's broken and how to fix it.
 

gggplaya

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Don't mistake what I said as saying the patent law is 100% perfect and should be left alone. There are certainly issues with retarded patents and a lack of novel innovation making it's way into a patent. As well as overly broad patents. But legit patents should have the 20 year protection.
 
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