Don't be surprised if someone patents a way of surfing the internet, like a toolbar plugin on your browser with search features which most big sites offer already for free. Oops, probably gave somebody an idea here! LOL!
As a Patent Consultant myself, you can easily patent such type of unique or innovative way that you, yourself created and that never existed or was used before by anyone. However, if a clever patent lawyer/consultant presents the case in a way that it sounds totally out of the commonality of usual items/procedures, the possibility of getting sued in case of a violation becomes real.
Regarding the patent in question, it has clearly mentioned the way or the software technique to manage domains. Now, if you can come up with a better software programming technique for the same purpose, you can patent that one too to protect your own investment of time and money for the idea. Please differentiate the ideas here from the procedures. There is a very fine line between that, thanks to the very flexible nature of the software programming field
Instead of being afraid, try inventing a better way to contribute towards society and that is the real spirit of patenting. Those who patent for the sake of suing others, are simply following an evil path and this is not so REAL or a common practise. Majority of the patent owners are good-natured people and very friendly to work with.
try inventing a better way to contribute towards society and that is the real spirit of patenting.
The only way a patent of this nature contributes to society is by forcing people to find another means of using sub domains to avoid being sued by this person/company.
In accordance with what you said were essentially being forced to think of new ways to do things or face fees/law suites.
There are very few patent holders which truly care about the advancement of their field over making money, most notably Linus Trevdolt on the side of advancing computer software with Linux, and Bill Gates by holding back computer software with Windows.
Patents are fine if they are legit and it is original. The idea as stated in this patent was already being used by several other companies so their patent application should never have been approved by the USPTO. Now the company is sending out letters asking for a license fee for a bogus patent.
Here is a copy of the letter requesting a licensing fee to use their patent.http://220.127.116.11/letter.jpg Even though we can prove our system(and others) were in place before their application was filed, the legal fees will kill a small business if it ever ends up in court.
The patent is not for the use of subdomains, it is for the automatic creation of subdomains by some control panels and programs used for redirect type services.
The speculation as to whether Microsoft intends to patent XML technology is over.
Microsoft has been granted United States patent 6,687,897 for "XML script automation."
The patent, awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on February 3, appears to deal with basic XML functionality. Specifically, it describes a method for unpacking multiple scripts contained within a single XML file.
Microsoft also has a Patent on a one-wheel Scroll Mouse (for vertical & horizontal scrolling) and they even got a Patent on the technology for IM's showing (at the bottom) that the person you are talking to is typing a message.
What will they of next?
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This reminds me of an article I read a couple years ago concerning a company trying to patent the concept of "E-commerce". The man (and lawyers) in turn sued several online businesses that were claimed to be using this patented technology, and it threatened a lot of small family businesses (like one mom and pop chocolate shop).
I can't recall what magazine that was in, if anyone remembers it - do you know whatever happened in that case?
>> I thought patents were supposed to be given only for significant inventions
>> and not for what can be characterized as "natural development".
Nope. The basic requirement is that the invention or modification to a current idea is "not obvious" and that it has not been shown publicly by somebody else prior to your filing. The "not obvious" part is easy to get around because what might be obvious to the inventor might not be obvious to the patent inspector.
But patents don't have real teeth until they have been upheld in a court battle. Many patents are awarded that would not stand up in court.
Patents of this nature are particularly troublesome though. We all know that this 'art' was in use prior to the application for the patent in '99.
However, for a small business to secure an attorney and even enter court could spell doom. If the license fee is not exhorbitant they will just pay it.
For the large corporation, to take the time to prepare to go to court is troublesome. Their attorneys are well paid and preparation of documents to defend against such a suit is expensive and time consuming. They have better things to do than fight the good fight in court. If the license fee is not exhorbitant they will just pay it.
The problem is that regardless of how baseless the patent is, if it is granted and you are sued you will be forced to either pay the license or to fight it in court. If the license fee is cheaper it will be paid regardless of validity.