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Meet the Lawyer Suing Anyone Who Uses SSL 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-all-mine dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Since 2008, Dallas, Texas attorney Erich Spangenberg and his company TQP have been launching suits against hundreds of firms, claiming that merely by using SSL, they've violated a patent TQP acquired in 2006. Nevermind that the patent was actually filed in 1989, long before the World Wide Web was even invented. So far Spangenberg's targets have included Apple, Google, Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, every major bank and credit card company, and scores of web startups and online retailers, practically anyone who encrypts pages of a web sites to protect users' privacy. And while most of those lawsuits are ongoing, many companies have already settled with TQP rather than take the case to trial, including Apple, Amazon, Dell, and Exxon Mobil. The patent has expired now, but Spangenberg can continue to sue users of SSL for six more years and seems determined to do so as much as possible. 'When the government grants you the right to a patent, they grant you the right to exclude others from using it,' says Spangenberg. 'I don't understand why just because [SSL is] prevalent, it should be free.'"
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Meet the Lawyer Suing Anyone Who Uses SSL

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  • So (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ultra64 (318705) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:53AM (#41955753)

    Who's up for forming a lynch mob?

    • Re:So (Score:5, Funny)

      by pla (258480) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:59AM (#41955791) Journal
      Who's up for forming a lynch mob?

      I'll bring the torches if you bring the pitchforks...
    • by BSAtHome (455370)

      Although I am on the other side of the pond, I'd gladly send you rope and bashing articles.

      Please be sure that the target digs a hole deep enough beforehand. You wouldn't want the worms to come crawling up and arrange for a whack-a-mole session.

    • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mSparks43 (757109) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:13AM (#41955895) Homepage Journal

      What's the point?

      Its a patent for a symmetric key algorithm done in hardware.

      Just tell them you'll see them in court.

      • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pieroxy (222434) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:50AM (#41956141) Homepage

        What's the point?

        Its a patent for a symmetric key algorithm done in hardware.

        Just tell them you'll see them in court.

        That's if you can afford to go to court. They may be asking very reasonable fees to make the ROI of such a case overly in favor of settling. By going to court you would have to advance large amounts of money where settling might be cheaper. So even if you win the lawsuit, you might end up losing money in the end.

        Of course, you'd have done "the right thing" (patent pending) but who cares in the 21st century?

        • Re:So (Score:5, Interesting)

          by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:25AM (#41956445)
          > So even if you win the lawsuit, you might end up losing money in the end.

          Try definitely. In the US your legal fees usually aren't reimbursed, so you will be out of pocket $3-5M *EVEN IF YOU WIN*. Kiss that money goodbye. Under UK rules the winner does get their legal fees reimbursed, but lawyers charge a lot more than that amount so you will still be out of pocket for say half that amount.

          As soon as someone sues you for patent violation - even if their suit is a sham - you're a few million out of pocket. In theory the judge should throw out sham suits, but judges in patent troll counties are a different breed.
          • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:34AM (#41956533) Journal

            Plus they still let them request the venue which always ends up in a region in east Texas that seems to populated solely by patent lawyers.

          • What? I call bullshit. I used to be a Patent Paralegal for a prominent computer company. You can do a LOT of litigation for $50,000. So unless they are asking for an amount more than that, it's just a nuisance and that's why many of these companies have settled. And you most certainly can try to counter-sue.

            Here's what a patent troll does: They go around to smaller and foreign companies, hitting them with some scary patent that *looks* like some basic technology they've been using, and threatens to su

        • Re:So (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sulphur (1548251) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:39AM (#41956595)

          That's if you can afford to go to court.

          That's like trying to shove melted butter up a wildcat's ass with a hot poker, but you are welcome to try.

      • Its a patent for a symmetric key algorithm done in hardware.

        No it isn't. You have to read the entire first claim to understand the patent (the second claim is mostly irrelevant since it is "dependent" so is only triggered if you are already caught by the first claim; it's mostly there as a defence against future prior art which defeats the first claim).

        1. A method for transmitting data comprising a sequence of blocks in encrypted form over a communication link from a transmitter to a receiver comprising, in combination, the steps of:

        • providing a seed value to bot
    • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:17AM (#41955927) Journal

      Who's up for forming a lynch mob?

      Depends. Who are you going to lynch? The scumbag lawyer? The patent official(s) who granted this patent? The politicians who have been dragging their feet on patent reform? I mean, are we out to change the system, or just to vent on a shrewd individual who is exploiting it?

      • Re:So (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:25AM (#41955981)

        Yes.

      • Re:So (Score:5, Funny)

        by gman003 (1693318) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:35AM (#41956055)

        How about "all of the above"?

      • Re:So (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jd2112 (1535857) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:36AM (#41956059)

        Who's up for forming a lynch mob?

        Depends. Who are you going to lynch? The scumbag lawyer? The patent official(s) who granted this patent? The politicians who have been dragging their feet on patent reform? I mean, are we out to change the system, or just to vent on a shrewd individual who is exploiting it?

        Note to self: Invest in companies that make rope.

        • Re:So (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:02AM (#41956229)

          Note to self: Patent rope.

          • Re:So (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:10AM (#41956995)

            Method and Device for Passing Extrajudicial Punishment

            1) .. entailing
            a) identifying and selecting a plurality of subjects
            b) selecting a plurality of suitable vertical objects
            c) fixating subjects (a) on objects (b) by means of rope until full termination of respiration

            2) Method described in (1), where objects are lamp posts
            3) Method described in (1), where objects are trees
            4) Method described in (1), where subjects are politicians
            5) Method described in (1), where subjects are lawyers
            6) Method described in (5), where lawyers deal predominantly with patent issues ...

            • by tnk1 (899206)

              It's people like you who give patents a bad name.

              For that reason, people should use my patented method of revolution where piano wire is substituted for rope. I promise that my licensing fees are much more modest. I will also donate one dollar for every million I make to some charity having to do with children, pets or breasts.

      • by servies (301423)

        All of them?

      • by Lithdren (605362)

        Depends. Who are you going to lynch? The scumbag lawyer? The patent official(s) who granted this patent? The politicians who have been dragging their feet on patent reform?

        Yes

      • "Exploiting it", "extortion", same difference.

      • all of the above.
    • by cvtan (752695)
      OR: Where are the drones when you need them?
  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:56AM (#41955765)

    Nevermind that the patent was actually filed in 1989, long before the World Wide Web was even invented.

    Now, don't get me wrong, this is patent trolling at it's absolute worst, but what exactly is this quote supposed to mean? We (rightly) complain all the freakin time how people shouldn't be granted patents just by adding "on the internet" or "on a computer", we can't have it both ways. If there is a valid patent to provide secure communications through USPS and the key steps of that patent are being performed as part of secure communications online, why shouldn't that be considered to be violating the patent?

    • "we can't have it both ways. I"

      No, but we should a least have it one way or the other.

      As it stands, if you add "on the internet" to it, you get a patent, or as in this case, even if you don't, you can still enforce your patent "on the internet"

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      Agreed; the guy is exploiting the patent system in one of the most horrific mis-uses I've ever seen (applying an expired patent that was bought from another organisation to retro-actively sue people who had no idea they were infringing), however the use of a technology in a new scenario is not a new patent. While the references to old technology (for example modems) in the patent seem mildly comical from today's point of view, in terms of the patent itself personally I find it refreshing to actually see a w

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by History's Coming To (1059484) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:53AM (#41956159) Journal
        We need some reductio ad absurdem on the part of the courts here. Side with the lawyer, outlaw all uses of SSL without a license from him, and have all companies using SSL remove the facility for one day. He's after a little bit of money but he's claiming to want to protect the patent. OK, call his bluff, no money and a protected patent, then let's see how the rest of the world responds when they see what's happening. No more internet banking? No more online trading? No more secure internet sessions? Go on, call his bluff, let's open Pandora's Box Of Patents, it's the only way to bring this nonsense down once and for all.
        • I couldn't agree more. This plan would generate the largest lynch mob in history. Someone should give Guinness a call... Together we can set a bar so high the record could never be broken.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:08AM (#41955851)

      Personally I think the point there is that if someone files a patent, and doesn't enforce anything about it, then someone else buys it 17 years later by which time due to lack of enforcement around it such that everyone has used it it's become part of essential every day tools, then some dick shouldn't then be able to start suing over it.

      In this respect patents should act like trademarks - if you don't defend against illegal use of it at or near the time of infringement and as a result everyone starts using tools built upon it, then it should be invalidated.

      This idea that you can file a patent, sit quietly on it, and wait until something related to it has become massively widely used and THEN you sue everyone left, right and centre, is fucking absurd.

      The other point is that patent terms are supposed to expire after 20 years. As such can anyone tell me why this guy has another 6 years to sue? Is this about legal limits and he is effectively suing for past infringement even though the patent should've expired 3 years ago? If so then that's another change that needs making to the law - you either sue when the patent is valid, or you don't sue at all.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:18AM (#41955941) Homepage
        THIS

        You should have some minimum time to file a suit against someone for using your patent or it should be invalidated. I see this all the time. Sony used a game controller for 3 years on their playstation and then somebody comes along saying they have a patent that Sony is infringing on. Why wasn't it brought up a couple months after the release? It's not like the playstation was some unknown product in some very small market that the patent holder couldn't have been expected to know about. If you have too many patents that you can't keep track of them, and don't even realize that somebody is infringing on them until years later, then it should be invalidated.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Luckyo (1726890)

          Because most inventors have other things to do with their time then comb through every new technological application, and because your suggestion would make big time manufacturers stop caring about patents of small guys and just obfuscate their technology to stop identification of patented features for long enough.

          Let's not forget, patent laws aren't made to allow big incumbents to rape small inventors. They're made to allow small inventors to get money from their inventions. Just because laws have been per

          • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:57AM (#41956191) Homepage
            You're right. Instead of letting the small inventors who maybe own 1 to 5 patents take a little responsibility and keep track of how their patents are being used, we should make the people/organizations producing products (big and small) be responsible for wading through millions of patents to ensure they don't infringe on these patents before they release a product. Even if said patent is just sitting in a filing cabinet, and no product has ever been realized.

            I'm not saying that all patents should be invalidated after some set period after some product has been released and no complaint has been filed. But there should be some expectation so thousands of companies can't go about using your "patented techology" for over a decade before you decide you are going to start complaining that they are violating your patent.
          • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:22AM (#41956407) Homepage Journal

            Let's not forget, patent laws aren't made to allow big incumbents to rape small inventors. They're made to allow small inventors to get money from their inventions.

            Both views are wrong, at least in the United States. The purpose of patents isn't to favor big or small or to enable collection of money by anyone. Money is the mechanism, not the goal. The purpose of patents is to advance science and the useful arts by providing inventors with a motive to publish the details of their inventions, so that other inventors can learn from them, and either license them or explore new possibilities.

            Like copyright, the intended beneficiary of our IP laws (at least in their original intent and form) isn't the owner of the temporary monopoly, it's society as a whole. The benefit to the owner is just the tool we use to encourage them to act in society's best interest, by spreading their ideas/expressions.

            There are a lot of implications of this viewpoint, and if everyone (especially Congress) could keep it straight, our IP laws would be a lot more sane -- and would tend to achieve rather than undermine the underlying goal. In the case of patent law, one implication of the real goal is that we can measure the effectiveness of the system by how often inventors search the patent database looking for solutions to problems, or for ideas to spark new inventions.

            • There are a lot of implications of this viewpoint, and if everyone (especially Congress) could keep it straight, our IP laws would be a lot more sane -- and would tend to achieve rather than undermine the underlying goal. In the case of patent law, one implication of the real goal is that we can measure the effectiveness of the system by how often inventors search the patent database looking for solutions to problems, or for ideas to spark new inventions.

              Though I agree with the rest of your post, I think your suggested test is too narrow - patents also allow inventors to publish white papers, theses, functional specifications, flow charts, etc. without destroying their IP protection, unlike trade secrets. Accordingly, we should also measure the effectiveness of the system by how often inventors search those for ideas.

          • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Xest (935314) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:33AM (#41956529)

            "Because most inventors have other things to do with their time then comb through every new technological application"

            As I see it it's quite simple. If you don't feel you have time to protect your patent then you obviously don't put enough value in it to believe it's worth protecting.

            Look, either your patent is such a unique and cutting edge innovation that you want to protect it and want to make money from it, or it's not. You can't just patent some trivial little turd of an idea that others have/will come up with independently and expect the money come flowing through to you for it.

            The "I don't have time" argument is bollocks, the time you invest in protecting your patent should be relative to the value you place in that patent. If you think it's a super patent then spend your life protecting it and milking money from it, if you think it's marginally useful then go after uses as soon as they're obviously there - i.e. PS3 controllers. If you don't value it at all then don't enforce it and let people use it how they want by letting it expire as trademarks do. That's how it should work. The patenting of turds and just sitting around waiting for them to mature and then attacking has to stop. Patents shouldn't be a license to cash in left and right 17 years after a patent was filed for some arbitrary idea no matter how little effort went into it, they should be worth bothering to protect and if they're not, they shouldn't be patentable ideas in the first place.

            Besides, the test for trademark genericisation is if your trademark has entered common usage, if your patent has come close to entering common usage across a wide range of users like SSL has and you haven't noticed and bothered to defend it then laziness has nothing to do with it. That's apathy towards enforcement, and apathy shouldn't be an excuse to be able to turn around many years later and suddenly decide to cash in either.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Luckyo (1726890)

              "If you're a small garage inventor, you're not big enough to be paid for your inventions".

              Nice ethics you have. No wonder there are so many "too big to fail" companies now and so many small ones are destroyed just to make sure these big failures stay up.

              • by Xest (935314)

                What are you on about?

                Size of business has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of what you invent and how much time you want to spend enforcing it.

                Or are you saying garage inventors should be able to just patent shit and screw large and small businesses alike out of cash without ever actually offering anything of value to society?

                Nothing I said prevents a garage inventor protecting his/her patent, the only question is whether they feel their patent is worth their time protecting.

                You can argue business

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            No they exist "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts", the size or age of the inventor is irrelevant.

      • by swb (14022)

        I'd like to see a system where you file for and receive a "provisional" patent. From the date of issue you have 5 years to go back to the patent office and demonstrate a salable product using this patent. If you fail to do so, the patent becomes null and void and the subject of the patent is considered in the public domain and unpatentable.

        5 years would protect any reasonable product development (even the little guys) while preventing large entities from patenting stuff they never use just to build a war

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Funny)

      by cultiv8 (1660093) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:15AM (#41955905) Homepage

      He and his wife Audrey, also an IP lawyer, live in a six-bedroom, seven-fireplace mansion worth $9.3 million, according to public records, and bought two half-million dollar condominiums in Las Vegas in 2010.

      It would be if baby needs a new pair of shoes.

    • in 1989, long before the World Wide Web was even invented.

      I clearly recall that I was surfing a lot of Gopher sites in 1985, and there was even something new: hypertext. Doesn't that count as the world wide web?

      • by slim (1652)

        I never saw a Gopher client with hypertext. Unless you count menus (I don't)

        Hypertext certainly predates the WWW though.

      • My recollection is that it Gopher in 1985 doesn't count. Gopher (and FTP and anything else with a schema) became part of the web (but not retroactively), after there was a web for it to be part of, and that started with HTTP, and more importantly: web browsers. If you were using a dedicated gopher client rather than a web browser (and you were) then you weren't using the web. You were just on the Internet, doing things that slightly resemble looking at web pages.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I don't know why people haven't yet argued that adding encryption to a point to point communication is pretty obvious.
      I mean, the patent isn't on the mathematical codes for the actual encryption anyhow?

      which gets us to the point why isn't the guy suing blizzard and my bank?

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        He probably is, notice he's already won against Apple, and is listed as going against banks. He should go after DNS and take down DNSSEC and see what happens. When DNS is taken down, he won't have to worry about anyone else using "his" SSL.
  • Now I am in danger if I activate SSL on my website? Why didn't Apple grind them to dust? Are their lawyers too busy duking it out with Samsung?
    C'mon Google, take aim and give 'em both barrels!

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Now I am in danger if I activate SSL on my website?

      No, because the patent has expired.
      You are in danger if you enabled SSL[*] on your web site back when the patent was active. Then you can be sued now over it.

      [*]: Or used any other of a wide range of symmetric encryptions facilitated by a handshake, web or no web.

  • by Stachybotris (936861) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:00AM (#41955799)
    All it would take is Google or one other company with adequately deep pockets to actually take this guy to court and that would be the last we'd hear of Mr. Spangenberg or his trollish little company.
    • by Stachybotris (936861) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:02AM (#41955807)
      Also, to clarify, this seems to not be over SSL itself, but rather over "using a shared seed value to generate pseudo-random key values at a transmitter and a receiver." RTFA on CipherLaw Blog [cipherlawgroup.com].
      • Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

        by Chrisq (894406) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:30AM (#41956003)

        Also, to clarify, this seems to not be over SSL itself, but rather over "using a shared seed value to generate pseudo-random key values at a transmitter and a receiver." RTFA on CipherLaw Blog [cipherlawgroup.com].

        Isn't CTR-mode use of a cipher block prior art? This was invented in 1979 by Dife and Hellman [nist.gov] and in effect turns a key into a series of pseudo random values which are xored with the plain text.

        • Yes, but if you replace Alice and Bob with Transmitter and Receiver, Now THAT'S Innovation!

          Protip: Just shit-can the whole patent system. No one uses it. If you want to do something, you just go invent your own solution, you don't go trawling through the PTO data base to find some pre-made solution explained as obtusely as possible and try to decipher it and apply it to your project, then contact the owner of said patent (if still valid), and pay them for the right to do all the work you just did... T

    • Read the article, the guy has different companies for each patent. That is one of the signs to recognize a patent troll, create a shell company with no assets and no product so if you loose, you loose nothing and they can't counter sue because you have no product so nothing that can infringe.

      Many big companies just consider this the cost of doing business and just pay up, thereby feeding the leech to become ever stronger. But fighting it would gain you nothing except a warm feeling.

      mind you, most of the big

    • All it would take is Google or one other company with adequately deep pockets to actually take this guy to court and that would be the last we'd hear of Mr. Spangenberg or his trollish little company.

      From the summary:

      And while most of those lawsuits are ongoing, many companies have already settled with TQP rather than take the case to trial, including Apple

      A company with deep pockets? $100 billion dollars [businessinsider.com] isn't "adequately" deep enough?

      I don't know anything about this patent but if there was a company that thought they'd have the money to shut these guys up, it'd be the elephant in the universe with so much money they have a dividend and share repurchase program [slashdot.org].

  • The real problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dachshund (300733) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:01AM (#41955803)

    Nevermind that the patent was actually filed in 1989, long before the World Wide Web was even invented.

    The problem here is not that the patent was filed before SSL was invented (about 1995) -- that could be fine, if SSL was using a patented technology that pre-dated its own invention.

    The problem here is that the attorneys are accusing the practice of 'sending network records over a wire and encrypting them with a stream cipher', where in this case the cipher is (I believe RC4). However RC4 was invented in the 1980s and should pre-date this patent. I'm certain that somebody used it to encrypt network traffic in an almost identical manner, so there should be prior art.

    Moreover, stream ciphers in general have been around for much longer than that. Someone somewhere has published/deployed this idea before. It should not be a live patent. Note that the case has never been tested by a court.

    • Spangenberg defends the validity of Jonesâ(TM) work by pointing to a failed challenge to the patent filed by TD Ameritrade in late 2010, which was rejected by the Patent and Trademark Office.

      I don't know enough about the system to know if that means it went to court or simply was rejected by the USPTO itself.. but he says they spent hundreds of thousands and possibly millions on it, so that really sounds like it went to court.

  • by aManofFewWords (2772755) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:03AM (#41955817)
    You must see the good in this man. He has set up well over 200 companies to make the point that software patents is a bad thing. He even tells this to all the companies and judges he can find. He will finally succeed and software patents will be abolished.
  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:08AM (#41955841)

    According to TFA, the patent apparently infringed upon has expired, however this mob can still sue people who used it in the past for the next six years.

    So, if you start a new company now that uses SSL you should be in the clear.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:10AM (#41955863) Homepage

    He may be on the correct side of the law as far as current patent law goes, but I'm of the opinion that, at least sometimes, the fact that it's prevalent means that it should be free. Particularly when it comes to computer software, and particularly when it comes to communications and the exchange of information. File formats should be able to be written and read without a license. You should be able to make your software communicate with others using network protocols that are unencumbered.

    I don't know that I have an objection to software patents per se, but when it comes to file format standards and network communications standards, you should not have to pay in order to participate.

    • This. IP is not a natural right; it is a temporary privilege granted by society. As such, I don't see a problem with revoking a patent in certain cases, especially when the patent covers something that has grown into widespread use without the patent holder ever bringing suit for infringement (i.e. submarine patents).

      By the same token, the process for invalidating patents should be way easier than going through lengthy trials in court. For instance, if you have a well documented case of prior art, req
  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:11AM (#41955873)
    Marconi was sued by telegraph companies that thought they had a fifty year monopoly on morse code. The communications IP legal situation has been a sick joke since at least then.
  • Err what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kiriath (2670145) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:18AM (#41955943)

    'I don't understand why just because [SSL is] prevalent, it should be free.'

    This statement is one of those really douchebaggy things that douchebags douche out.

    All of that being said, SSL needs to be replaced with something better anyway.

  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@lauren c e m a rtin.org> on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:25AM (#41955973)

    a Proposed penalty is if you get convicted of being a "patent troll" and try to use a submarine patent (or purchase an otherwise inactive patent to use as a submarine patent) ALL patents held by you are rendered VOID and are now Prior Art as applies.

    also to violate a patent you should have to hit each and every claim (no partial claims allowed) unless the claims form a complete set but have Common Sense branches (deploying a patent in a Fixed Mobile land Mobile Air Mobile Water manner would be one)

  • by Genevish (93570) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:32AM (#41956035) Homepage
    When the democrats say, "you didn't build that", maybe they mean this guy?
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_cipher [wikipedia.org] apparently somebody has patented something related to stream ciphers in 1946 , so I assume there is prior art somewhere there..
  • I don't see why patent troll lawyers shouldn't be set ablaze for free.

  • Send in the SEALs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by concealment (2447304)

    Double-tap to the forehead, then exfil with the tango wrapped in a carpet. In unmarked ocean, give him a burial at sea.

    This guy probably has a legitimate patent on handshaking that has the capacity to switch encryption keys. However, he's generating massive collateral damage in exchange for his personal profit, at the expense of industry.

    That in itself is not an efficient solution, and means he's essentially taking from each of us each time he unnecessarily raises costs...

    Which brings me back to the SEALs.

  • by Murdoch5 (1563847)
    Erich Spangenberg embodies everything Apple stands for! Countless lawsuits for pure profit. Will they offer him a job?
  • ... someone with far greater provenance in this matter, than you, already decided it should be free.
  • He is just suing to make sure the patent he worked so hard on researching and developing isn't stolen so that he can use it to develop a business around it. Oh wait, he just bought it so he could just use it to extort money from deep pockets and those that can't afford to defend themselves.

  • not to stereotype but the clue to him being a douchebag is in his surname.
    week after week day after day the same name styles crop up whenever trouble is happening, coincidence ?

  • It don't need to be bad, just an opportunity to change things. Why not sue not big/small internet companies, but politicians, government and associated consultants, lobbyists and so on? If they can't use encrypted communication, will force the government to be truly transparent. Or abolish that kind of patents (that will be less costly for them, they can break all the international laws for chasing someone that hints that could disclose a small portion of what they really do). In either case, we win.
  • by samwhite_y (557562) * <icrewps@@@yahoo...com> on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:05PM (#41957689)
    This is just another in a long series of slashdot articles that have pointed out the broken nature of our patent system. What I have not seen is any serious proposals for fixing the issues beyond "throw it all out". I have to agree that making software (even software running in specific hardwire specifications) something that you cannot patent is superior to the current patenting solution. Something similar could be said about some of the pharmaceutical patenting that is going on as well (make it last "seven days" instead of "one", get to extend my patent).

    What if we made patents peer reviewed by a group of high profile experts in the field in which the patent is filed. So notable software professionals would be consulted for software patents. This group would use a high bar on the "obviousness" and "prior art" test so that rewriting prior art into a different language and giving a slightly different spin would not make it past this group. The group would be paid based by on the (likely to be substantial) fees charged to the person filing the patent. This is how research articles are handled for the best scientific journals. If a patent is laughably far from being publish worthy for a reputable scientific journal, why are we letting it control millions (or billions) of dollars of commerce? Currently, we are forcing our higher courts to learn all types of arcana before they are able to kill a patent based on prior art and obviousness. Using a group of true experts (not the underpaid and overworked staff at the patent office) would do a lot to improve the situation. Patent lawyers are not a sufficient substitute.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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