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'[OT] FAT patent rejected'
2004\10\01@101008 by Peter L. Peres

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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/30/microsoft_fat_patent_rejected/

Peter
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2004\10\01@101215 by Peter L. Peres

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As an afterthought, the article at

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/30/microsoft_fat_patent_rejected/

says that the USPTO rejects some patents 'on appeal'. I.e. someone
(lawyers) makes a lot of money on it. Would it not be more beneficial if
they would reject them outright instead of granting them ? This sounds
very much like the spam industry. Do not ban spam, but sell spam filter
services.

Peter
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2004\10\01@105618 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> says that the USPTO rejects some patents 'on appeal'. I.e. someone
> (lawyers) makes a lot of money on it. Would it not be more
> beneficial if
> they would reject them outright instead of granting them ?

IMHO you are completely right, but the world is moving in the opposite
direction. Even my own country (Netherlands), which used to have one of
the toughest pre-patent investigation regimes, has moved to a just-file
approach, leaving the challenging to the courts. Two thing that hake
this move unavoidable is the gradual lowering of the 'innovation level'
and the sheer amount of 'existing knowledge' which makes it almost
impossible for a patent officer to asses whether a patent is realy new.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


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2004\10\01@114820 by Lawrence Lile

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I had the opposite experience in the US.  We have had a hard fight to get most patents past the first office action.  We hear from patent attourneys that the Patent Office is instructed to reject most patents on the first go no matter what, and then the serious patent applicants will come back with objections and win.  

We have had toaster patents rejected citing completely irrelevant "prior art" from some off the wall industry, like paint or musical instruments. Usually when we object "Ah, Mr. Patent Reviewer guy, these items you cited have nothing to do with what we are patenting" then they allow.  

South Africa is another story.  Want a few patents?  Apply in South Africa.  No Questions asked.  I believe they would probably allow a patent on making fire by rubbing sticks.  YMMV

New Zealand is better, though.  They do have a real review process, relatively automatic if a US patent has already issued on the device, but you get a really cool letter from the Queen.  Probably the same in Australia or Great Britain, but I never got a patent there.

-- Lawrence Lile, P.E.
Electrical and Electronic Solutions
Project Solutions Companies
http://www.projsolco.com



> {Original Message removed}

2004\10\01@120537 by Marcel Duchamp

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At 08:43 AM 10/1/04, you wrote:

>New Zealand is better, though.  They do have a real review process,
>relatively automatic if a US patent has already issued on the device, but
>you get a really cool letter from the Queen.

That's cool! Who *is* the queen of New Zealand?
MD

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2004\10\01@123226 by Harold Hallikainen

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So, why leave it to the patent examiner? Publish patent applications for
public review. The patent examiner then reviews the public comments and
allows or disallows the patent. Patent applicants may not like their
applications being published, especially if a patent is not eventually
issued. Those with truly innovative inventions would be granted, so the
publication is just a little earlier. Those whose "inventions" are not
truly innovative may choose to protect their ideas through trade secret
instead of the patent process.

Harold

> and the sheer amount of 'existing knowledge' which makes it almost
> impossible for a patent officer to asses whether a patent is realy new.
>



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2004\10\01@131126 by Morgan Olsson

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The idea of the patent system is to protect the inventor so he have an opportunity to earn money from his work (by producing or selling rights).  But also to make the a idea official so other can learn, plus after a time (20 year) the inventor loose his sole right.

This crazy situation we have today with large companies and sums involved make the situation absurd.  Now it seems it mostly is a case of money to hire attourneys and process, delay process, etc, so big compaies can effectively steal ideas by using lawyer armys.

A patent guy told me 7 out of 10 US patents fall if they are examined.  (3 of 10 in Sweden)  Yet he proposed to consider using US patent as they are easier to get (no problem) but also that they aare more respected in Asia (not because of quality).  Now it turned out we found a almost 30 yera old patent from Italy describing "our" idea, so it was known knowledge and free.  (So noone can sue us, and that is more important than anybody copying...)  The italian patent was later establiished in France too.  We also found three new patents in US from -99 and -00 covering the same idea although it was known knowledge!!  And it was not very hard to find.  We later investigated and found the US inventors had dropped their patents.  Sorry for them to have paid lots of money for a patent that never should have been processed!

So, for better research, i guess you have to ask european patent office.


Ther is also the issue with long sittings in court.  The inventor (Håkan Lans) of a world wide (almost) anticollision system for civil aircraft, got delayed in US court so long that now it can be used freely.  Swedish ministry of industri have complained to US gov, let´s see if it gets better.. doubt that.  Found this in english:  http://www.gpc.se/  Marine safety also http://www.adveto.com/ais.htm.

/Morgan
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2004\10\01@143511 by Dave Smith

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quite true Lawrence..........except the patent will cost u an " arm & a leg " :-))

just a few words of caution though, most patents here in SA  r not covered overseas and vice verse,  unless u r prepared to spend the time & money. I worked for a company afew years ago that regularly had plastic items like garden furniture / water jugs / pencil boxes sent from over seas,  so that I could reverse engineer and reproduce them (plastic injection moulding) with a few subtle changes. They got away with it because there were no patents registered on the items in SA.


Dave Smith
Cape Town
South Africa


 ----- Original Message -----   From: Lawrence Lile   To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.   Sent: Friday, October 01, 2004 5:43 PM
 Subject: RE: [OT] FAT patent rejected


 I had the opposite experience in the US.  We have had a hard fight to get most patents past the first office action.  We hear from patent attourneys that the Patent Office is instructed to reject most patents on the first go no matter what, and then the serious patent applicants will come back with objections and win.  
 We have had toaster patents rejected citing completely irrelevant "prior art" from some off the wall industry, like paint or musical instruments. Usually when we object "Ah, Mr. Patent Reviewer guy, these items you cited have nothing to do with what we are patenting" then they allow.  
 South Africa is another story.  Want a few patents?  Apply in South Africa.  No Questions asked.  I believe they would probably allow a patent on making fire by rubbing sticks.  YMMV
 New Zealand is better, though.  They do have a real review process, relatively automatic if a US patent has already issued on the device, but you get a really cool letter from the Queen.  Probably the same in Australia or Great Britain, but I never got a patent there.
 -- Lawrence Lile, P.E.
 Electrical and Electronic Solutions
 Project Solutions Companies
 http://www.projsolco.com



 > {Original Message removed}

2004\10\02@045759 by Morgan Olsson

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btw, http://www.ffii.org/
About too unlimited software patentability, threatening to make too much stress and researchload on inventors and small companies, maybe larger too, as seen from some battles in US.


And, rereading that article I read I see it is worse...
http://www.nyteknik.se/pub/ipsart.asp?art_id=36170i (swedish)
Håkan Lans is suing his attourneys for errors in several processes in US.  Our minister Leif Pagrotsky is worried about the bad treatment, esecially the court delayed issue, and has also asked EU trade minister if US court behaviour really is in line with the international agreements US have signed.


/Morgan

I wrote 19:11 2004-10-01:
>There is also the issue with long sittings in court.  The inventor (Håkan Lans) of a world wide (almost) anticollision system for civil aircraft, got delayed in US court so long that now it can be used freely.  Swedish ministry of industri have complained to US gov, let´s see if it gets better.. doubt that.  Found this in english:  http://www.gpc.se/  Marine safety also http://www.adveto.com/ais.htm.

--
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2004\10\02@091818 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 1 Oct 2004, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> says that the USPTO rejects some patents 'on appeal'. I.e. someone
>> (lawyers) makes a lot of money on it. Would it not be more
>> beneficial if
>> they would reject them outright instead of granting them ?
>
> IMHO you are completely right, but the world is moving in the opposite
> direction. Even my own country (Netherlands), which used to have one of
> the toughest pre-patent investigation regimes, has moved to a just-file
> approach, leaving the challenging to the courts. Two thing that hake
> this move unavoidable is the gradual lowering of the 'innovation level'
> and the sheer amount of 'existing knowledge' which makes it almost
> impossible for a patent officer to asses whether a patent is realy new.

I'll just wait until they become really sloppy and then go and patent the
examiner's dna, which I'll swipe off a piece of paper on his desk. Then I
will own him, and anything he touches or touched. Muahahaha.

Peter
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2004\10\02@150645 by James Caska

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The next interesting one to be tested is the current E-Bay online auction
patent.

This guy patented online auctioning in the early 90's and tried to sell them
to E-Bay for $10Million, they said no -- he took them to court and won
$100Million x 3 for willful infringement or $300Million + Costs ( $20M )

This case is being appealed shortly but if E-Bay loose then this guys is
going after all Online Auction sites, so you can imagine the value.

So here is an example of literally the billion dollar idea because this guy
never built anything, just patented an idea. He was a patent reviewer and
knew what he was talking about.. The ramifications are austounding.

I bring this up as an extreme counter example to giants like Microsoft
screwing the little guy - this is the little guy screwing the big guys via
patents.

I don't know where I sit with it though. For me patents are suppost to
provide protection for you to build a monopoly business for a short while to
reward you for your invention and investment.


James Caska
http://www.muvium.com
uVM - 'Java Bred for Embedded'



{Original Message removed}

2004\10\03@120545 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Fri, 1 Oct 2004, Harold Hallikainen wrote:

> So, why leave it to the patent examiner? Publish patent applications for
> public review. The patent examiner then reviews the public comments and
> allows or disallows the patent. Patent applicants may not like their
> applications being published, especially if a patent is not eventually
> issued. Those with truly innovative inventions would be granted, so the
> publication is just a little earlier. Those whose "inventions" are not
> truly innovative may choose to protect their ideas through trade secret
> instead of the patent process.

This is a good idea, in the spirit of f.ex. aspiring politicians being
stopped from running for office if someone brings legal proof they are
felons (not ex) etc.

But I also think it is too candid. Droves of industrial spies, lawyers,
and other types of non-technical persons would swarm over the published
applications while real techies would have a strong deja vu feeling and
some would act on it. I don't think this would work in today's world.

The easiest way out of the hot water for the p.o. (utopical proposal
follows) would be to hire a lot of retired engineers and scientists with a
relevant past in the industry on a small per-job fee to review patent
applications and say nay or aye, leaving further discussions to the more
active members of the p.o. and lawyers. This would be a fairly democratic
process, the asked people not knowing who else would write what. A one
page email would be amply sufficient from each, sent in an electronic form
and together with an nda and non-involvement statement (similar to that
required from jurors) that would be evaluated by machine. It would have
only two choice answers as in 1. don't know 2. I do know, and in that
case, write at most 1 page below, quoting at least one actual previous art
example (patented or not). In the USA at least this could function as an
extension of the juror system used by the courts I think. Obviously the
identities of the 'jurors' would be kept secret to prevent tampering by
interested parties, and the 'jurors' chosen for the review of a certain
patent application would be chosen electronically, and randomly. Just an
idea ? Even if it would not be an ultimate solution, the conclusion
reached would be more in the spirit of technical/knowledgeable people
imho.

Peter
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2004\10\04@060841 by Morgan Olsson

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James Caska 21:05 2004-10-02:
>For me patents are suppost to provide protection for you to build a monopoly business for a short while to reward you for your invention and investment.

The problem is that sometimes a guy patents a idea without much either invention or investment in time nor money, then sues the real enginneers and investors that really take the job to make that idea work.  Really ideas of the same kind are often formed by a lot of people around dhte globe, but few are capable of making it work.  

So we have two problem sides of the coin:  

1) Luck seekers patenting something they can not make work themselves.

2) People copying others work or ideas.

The solution was ment to be for the patent office to investigate prior known art *patented or not* , and demand significant techincal level.  Thus plain "ideas" are NOT eligible to patent, you must provide a WORKING SOLUTION.

Problems are some countries patent offices fail miserably.

Alother problem is general failure and lowering of the bars, soon you can get a patent on anyting you type down, regardless of technical height or prior art :/

It is also interestign to study the arguemtns of software patents.  I have settled for the ides someone expressed as  "Software is not manufactured, it is something you write and publish. We do not want censorship by patent law on written works."

AND, if i design a device containing an embedded cointroller i can still patent the solution of the *device* regardless of the program which is only a part of it, like samll unpatentable screws etc bulid up a patentable machine.

/Morgan
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2004\10\04@072429 by Russell McMahon

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> AND, if i design a device containing an embedded cointroller i can still
> patent the solution of the *device* regardless of the program which is
> only a part of it, like samll unpatentable screws etc bulid up a
> patentable machine.


Yes. An important point.
patents are for the novelty of the entire concept. You can combine 2 or more
known ideas to make an idea which is new enough to be patentable. For
instance, a solar powered mouse-trap :-).

Would you believe that Googling on "solar mousetrap" produces ONE strike.
!!! ;-)
Even though it's not on the page proper.

       http://www.alibaba.com/trade/company/goto/~richsun99



       RM

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2004\10\04@085144 by Gerhard Fiedler

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> The solution was ment to be for the patent office to investigate prior
> known art *patented or not* , and demand significant techincal level.
> Thus plain "ideas" are NOT eligible to patent, you must provide a
> WORKING SOLUTION.

I don't think the "working solution" thing gets investigated a lot.

> Problems are some countries patent offices fail miserably.

I also don't think that's a problem of some countries. It seems to be
pretty much worldwide. I've been involved in a few patent applications, and
it's disgusting, from a technical perspective. It's not about having a
unique idea and registering that idea for the protection of it; it's more
about finding some side aspect of something that hasn't been registered
yet, so that you can nail your competition. It's quite similar to nailing
Al Capone for tax evasion :)

> Alother problem is general failure and lowering of the bars, soon you
> can get a patent on anyting you type down, regardless of technical
> height or prior art :/

Yes, and I think this is really a worldwide problem. It has become a
corporate's (and lawyer's) money machine.

> It is also interestign to study the arguemtns of software patents.  I
> have settled for the ides someone expressed as  "Software is not
> manufactured, it is something you write and publish. We do not want
> censorship by patent law on written works."

I agree.

> AND, if i design a device containing an embedded cointroller i can still
> patent the solution of the *device* regardless of the program which is
> only a part of it, like samll unpatentable screws etc bulid up a
> patentable machine.

Exactly! If your program does something worthwhile, like controlling a
machine in just the right way, it is that machine and that "just the right
way" that should get patented.

It gets a bit trickier with programs that act (visibly) only on the screen
and react to the keyboard and mouse. But patenting the double-click... I'm
outta here... :)

Gerhard
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2004\10\04@114505 by Harold Hallikainen

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I believe you can combine previous inventions in a novel way and get a
patent on the combination. However, to use the new invention, you'd have
to have permission from each of the patent holders (IMHO).

Harold

re google "solar mousetrap", Isn't there a game where you try to come up
with a search term that returns only one result? If you leave off the
quotes, you get 10,700 results. With the quotes, there's one result, but
that page has changed and the phrase is no longer on the page. It is on
the cached page at Google, though...


{Quote hidden}

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2004\10\04@132033 by Howard Winter

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Harold,

On Mon, 4 Oct 2004 08:44:59 -0700 (PDT), Harold
Hallikainen wrote:

> Isn't there a game where you try to come up with a
search term that returns only one result?

Yes, "Googlewhack"  - probably the most useless passtime
anyone has invented for quite a while, IMHO!  :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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2004\10\04@140734 by Dwayne Reid

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At 03:13 PM 10/1/2004, Peter L. Peres wrote:

>http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/30/microsoft_fat_patent_rejected/

The sad news is: for every common sense victory, there are dozens of common
sense failures.  Case in point: "Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against
Sun"  <http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20041003041632172>

I don't know where its going to stop but this looks like insanity to me.

dwayne

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2004\10\04@144346 by James Caska

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Morgan Olsson said:
>Really ideas of the same kind are often formed by a lot of people
>around dhte globe, but few are capable of making it work.  

This I agree with -- I am against the idea that an 'idea' is patentable and
you can hold others to ransom simply because you managed to get the idea
into writing ( the Luck patenter ). I agree with the premise that you have
invested heavily in trying to make that idea a viable business and want to
protect the underlying idea that is the foundation of the business without
having someone simply copy you.

Gerhard said:
>Yes, and I think this is really a worldwide problem. It has become a
corporate's (and lawyer's) money machine.

Agreed, it seems to be becoming another place to 'trade' ie gamble. Almost
like another commodity stock-market or unstable litigation model.

I think the fundamental problem is that there are now so many patents and
such enourmous amount of prior art that to do a valid search is simply too
expensive.. And it is expensive because it still involves a searcher ( human
time ) who understands what the patent is about..

The idea in the US seems to be leaning towards 'registration' and then allow
disputes to occur in the courts ( often at great expense ) but this is
simply a response the fact that the whole system seems to be coming into
crisis.

I mean patenting of genes, software, and millions and millions of patents
and such huge amount of human knowledge are just not covered by the original
patent principles and law ( which is in the constitution of the US in fact..
)

Unfortunately there is no easy answer as it is genuinely a complex problem,
but an important one, fingers crossed there will be some smart reform to
build a better system of law capable of handing the new IP environment.


James Caska
http://www.muvium.com
uVM - 'Java Bred for Embedded'



{Original Message removed}

2004\10\04@172325 by Eric Bohlman

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> James Caska 21:05 2004-10-02:
>
>>For me patents are suppost to provide protection for you to build a monopoly business for a short while to reward you for your invention and investment.

Strictly speaking, that isn't the case.  The purpose of a patent isn't
to reward *innovation* or even investment; the assumption is that the
marketplace is perfectly capable of doing that.  Rather, the purpose of
a patent is to reward a behavior that the marketplace would otherwise
punish, namely disclosing the details of how the invention works rather
than keeping them secret.  This allows others, in the future, to build
on existing innovation and take it further rather than having to
constantly re-invent the wheel.  The temporary monopoly is there to
ensure that the inventor doesn't automatically lose his shirt as a
result of the disclosure.

This means, _inter alia_, that the only inventions that are supposed to
be patentable are those where the inventor *could* have kept the details
secret.  Thus the legal language about "novel and non-obvious."  If
anyone (technically, "a person skilled in the art") could figure out how
the invention works just by seeing its results, then it's "obvious" and
isn't a candidate for patentability.

The problem is that patent offices now seem to be issuing broad
conceptual patents that appear to cover *any* means of achieving a
specific outcome, rather than highly specific means.  It's always been
the case that a particular design for a mousetrap is patentable, but now
we're seeing the equivalent of patents on the whole concept of trapping
mice by any sort of mechanical means.  In other words, patents now seem
to cover the desired outcome regardless of how it's achieved.  And that
means that the concept of disclosure, which was supposed to be the very
heart of patent law, has been effectively thrown out the window.
Instead of giving the inventor a temporary monopoly on the use of *his
invention* the law is now giving him a temporary monopoly on the *entire
field in which his invention would be useful*.

The US Supreme Court ruled long ago (back in the 1890s IIRC) that patent
law didn't allow someone to "stake a claim" for merely being the first
to do something; much more was expected of the inventor.  I think it's
time for that ruling to be revisited.
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2004\10\05@081836 by Howard Winter

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Dwayne,

On Mon, 04 Oct 2004 12:07:33 -0600, Dwayne Reid wrote:

> The sad news is: for every common sense victory, there are dozens of common
> sense failures.  Case in point: "Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against
> Sun"  <www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20041003041632172>
>
> I don't know where its going to stop but this looks like insanity to me.

Well something stops here with me:  I won't be buying any more Kodak products.  If this greedy attitude is how
they want to play it, I'll go elsewhere in future.

Cheers,



Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


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2004\10\05@092551 by Gerhard Fiedler

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> The idea in the US seems to be leaning towards 'registration' and then allow
> disputes to occur in the courts ( often at great expense ) but this is
> simply a response the fact that the whole system seems to be coming into
> crisis.

Yes. I think always when a solution is left up to the courts, it is because
nobody really wants to commit to a real solution. The courts have no
choice; they need to decide whatever gets put in front of them. But if
there is a tendency to push things towards the courts, it is a clear
indication that the legislative isn't doing its job.

Gerhard
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2004\10\05@092859 by Gerhard Fiedler

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> Rather, the purpose of  a patent is to reward a behavior that the
> marketplace would otherwise  punish, namely disclosing the details of
> how the invention works rather  than keeping them secret.  

Thanks for this clarification (and its consequences); what you said makes a
lot of sense and IMO would help a lot if the people granting patents would
read that a few times :)

Gerhard
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2004\10\05@113626 by Robert Rolf

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Howard Winter wrote:
>>The sad news is: for every common sense victory, there are dozens of common
>>sense failures.  Case in point: "Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against
>>Sun"  <www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20041003041632172>
>>
>>I don't know where its going to stop but this looks like insanity to me.
>
>
> Well something stops here with me:  I won't be buying any more Kodak products.  If this greedy attitude is how
> they want to play it, I'll go elsewhere in future.

But be sure and write their chief/president/chairman and tell
them WHY you will no longer buy from them.
If they are not told WHY you are boycotting them, they'll
never make the connection with sales losses which might
lead to a change their behaviour.

Robert

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2004\10\05@150733 by James Caska

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face
>Well something stops here with me:  I won't be buying any
> more Kodak products.  If this greedy attitude is how
>they want to play it, I'll go elsewhere in future.

I think *that's* already the problem. Kodak have been in decline for a long
while now and this is a desperation move. When the injured animal has it's
back to the wall it will do anything for survival -- even something like
this.

James Caska
http://www.muvium.com
uVM - 'Java Bred for Embedded'



{Original Message removed}

2004\10\07@114455 by Sean Alcorn

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On 4 Oct 2004, at 9:12 PM, Russell McMahon wrote:

> Would you believe that Googling on "solar mousetrap" produces ONE
> strike. !!! ;-)
> Even though it's not on the page proper.
>
>        http://www.alibaba.com/trade/company/goto/~richsun99

No. Russell - I do not believe it! It now produces two strikes. One is
an archive of your post;

http://infoarchive.net/sgroup/piclist/59071/

:-)

Cheers,

Sean

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