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Kodak vs. Sun Java Trial Date Set

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  • This has nothing whatsoever to do with Microsoft paying Sun $2bil [slashdot.org].
  • The litigation wars continue. I'm just curious as to how Kodak decided that litigation against sun was a good idea.
    • Re:Great. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by saden1 (581102) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:37AM (#9093737)
      Everyone probably knows that Kodak was falling off but it has just reach a new low. Looking at the patents they claim they own you'll note that every program every written that makes use of an object manager is infringing on their patent. This patent is totally unenforceable. And I can honestly say with confidence that there is definitely prior art out there.

      Kodak is sinking and needs management change.
      • Re:Great. (Score:2, Funny)

        by serano (544693)
        Kodak is sinking and needs management change.

        Since they are adopting the SCO business model, they might consider Darl. I hear he might be on the market soon.
      • Re:Great. (Score:3, Informative)

        by nomadic (141991)
        Alright, these kinds of posts come up in every lawsuit story, and I just don't understand why. Company X sues someone, and instantly people make these grand announcements about how X is falling and relying on the patents in a last ditch effort to remain afloat.

        Kodak is doing fine. They're a very, very big company. They are quite profitable.

        Too bad we don't have some sort of vast network of worldwide computer systems over which one can quickly access such information.

        I'm not defending their actio
        • KODAK is doing awful though. Just look at tehir 5 year stock chart. I live in Rochester, NY and there is a news story every month or so about what a mess Kodak is.
      • Re:Great. (Score:3, Informative)

        While Kodak was slugging it out with Fuji, Ilford, and Agfa across the globe for the traditional film business, all kinds of new competititive threats like HP (a company no one would have called a Kodak competitor 10 years ago) have sprung up and made mincemeat out of what should have been a natural for Kodak: transitioning people and themselves to digital.

        Alas, someone was asleep at the switch, oodles of people have lost their jobs, and Kodak, a name almost synonymous with quality photography, will like
    • Re:Great. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dnoyeb (547705)
      Just reading the first patent (5,206,951) it would appear that Kodak has a patent on Object Oriented software.

      The patent is sufficiently vague as to encompass so many things it probably covers RMI as well.

      But shouldn't a vague patent make it easier to find prior art?

      patent 5,421,012 seems unrelated, unless their trying to tie it in to J2EE application servers in some weird fashion.

      5,226,161 is just gettings stupid. Patenting "object managers" in any way shape or form is stupid.

      They are simply patentin
      • Wait a minute, did you read the patents or did you read the abstracts of the patents? There's a difference.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:24AM (#9093653)
    Must be a case of overexposure.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Must be a case of overexposure. So what you're saying is that Kodak is suing Sun because they forgot to use Flash... Oh shit. Macromedia's gonna get in on this too...
  • Java! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:25AM (#9093655)
    The term Java can refer to:

    * Java (island) - the main island of Indonesia
    * Java, Georgia - one of provinces of the Republic of Georgia
    * Java coffee - a variety of coffee plant which originated on the island
    * Java programming language - named after the coffee
    * JavaScript - A Java-like scripting language used in web pages.
    * Javanese language
    * Java (board game)
    * Java (chicken) - a breed of chicken
    • Java can also refer to SOL - a kind of shell interface licensed under GNU and running on Hewlett Packard HP48G calculators. It is not made by HP.
      It seems to me that one patent is talking about object oriented programming. So Kodak may fish for money all ower the woeld now?
    • Also, Java refers to the east meeting room in my old company. There is also a Borneo meeting room.^-^
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:26AM (#9093659)
    Like most of the patents that companies sue other companies over, these are particularly vague and empty. I'm surprised there isn't prior art on all of these.
  • This is so sad... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phunster (701222) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:27AM (#9093667)
    These are two companies on the ropes. One of them has decided that litigation is a viable survival strategy. Say what you will about either of these companies, this litigation is not a good thing for either of them.
    • Litigation seems to be a viable strategy for Sun too. What goes around comes around in the crazy patent game I guess.
      • Re:This is so sad... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by njcoder (657816) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:58AM (#9093840)
        Just wonder why you say this. The other day I was just curious about Sun's lawsuits and did a few searches. The majority of any Sun info I found were related to their Microsoft trials. Those were all contract and anti trust trials. Not patent trials. I don't think it was bad of sun to spend the time and money to help label MS as a monopoly and point out their anti-competitive practices. They've put a lot of companies out of business and it's good that Sun stood up to them. It's a shame people never recognized that what Sun was fighting for benefitted many independant software companies, not just sun. Maybe if they received that kind of support they never would have settled.

        If it is the MS trials you are reffering too, you obviously have your head shoved up way to far up your MCSE ass.

        There were some trademark related ones, or threats of, over Java. They were just enforcing the fact that people can't call something Java or 100% Java compatible unless it's been tested as such. This is a good thing for the developer community that needs to rely on the claims of something being 100% pure java.

        The only one I found regarding patents was related to Kingston which Sun later dropped. A stupid decision to start the suit in my opinion.

        You want to talk about big patent lawsuits you're looking at the wrong tech company identified by three letters. Even MS is taking big blue's cue and building a patent portfolio to start raising revenue.

        Read this interesting bit on how IBM tried to bully Sun out of $10 million in it's early days." [forbes.com]

        My own introduction to the realities of the patent system came in the 1980s, when my client, Sun Microsystems--then a small company--was accused by IBM of patent infringement. Threatening a massive lawsuit, IBM demanded a meeting to present its claims. Fourteen IBM lawyers and their assistants, all clad in the requisite dark blue suits, crowded into the largest conference room Sun had.

        The chief blue suit orchestrated the presentation of the seven patents IBM claimed were infringed, the most prominent of which was IBM's notorious "fat lines" patent: To turn a thin line on a computer screen into a broad line, you go up and down an equal distance from the ends of the thin line and then connect the four points. You probably learned this technique for turning a line into a rectangle in seventh-grade geometry, and, doubtless, you believe it was devised by Euclid or some such 3,000-year-old thinker. Not according to the examiners of the USPTO, who awarded IBM a patent on the process.

        After IBM's presentation, our turn came. As the Big Blue crew looked on (without a flicker of emotion), my colleagues--all of whom had both engineering and law degrees--took to the whiteboard with markers, methodically illustrating, dissecting, and demolishing IBM's claims. We used phrases like: "You must be kidding," and "You ought to be ashamed." But the IBM team showed no emotion, save outright indifference. Confidently, we proclaimed our conclusion: Only one of the seven IBM patents would be deemed valid by a court, and no rational court would find that Sun's technology infringed even that one.

        An awkward silence ensued. The blue suits did not even confer among themselves. They just sat there, stonelike. Finally, the chief suit responded. "OK," he said, "maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk [IBM headquarters in New York] and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?" After a modest bit of negotiation, Sun cut IBM a check, and the blue suits went to the next company on their hit list.

        In corporate America, this type of shakedown is repeated weekly. The patent as stimulant to invention has long since given way to the patent as blunt instrument for establishing an innovation stranglehold.

        Gary Reback

        • I am not an MSCE, I don't use any Microsoft OS's, and I love Java. What I was pointing out was that Sun is having major financial problems(read the parent) and if it were not for that suit and a good cash injection from Microsoft they would be having more...
          • "I am not an MSCE, I don't use any Microsoft OS's, and I love Java. What I was pointing out was that Sun is having major financial problems(read the parent) and if it were not for that suit and a good cash injection from Microsoft they would be having more..."

            Actually... what you said was

            "Litigation seems to be a viable strategy for Sun too. What goes around comes around in the crazy patent game I guess."

            Litigation wasn't a "viable strategy" for Sun. It was a last resort. Sun tried to get MS to confo

        • "OK," he said, "maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?"

          That's extortion. It's a felony that can and will get you many years in prison.

          C//
    • One of [Sun or Kodak] has decided that litigation is a viable survival strategy.

      ...or both.

      Each has a name much larger than its likely litigation-defense resources. If the patents are as broad as claimed, a good first step towards exploiting them might be a death-match with a highly visible opponent.

    • Re:This is so sad... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:53AM (#9093820) Homepage
      Kodak's not just on the ropes - it's practically on the floor having seriously missed the digital photography boat after PhotoCD went nowhere. This isn't the only patent case that Kodak is involved in at the moment either. There is an ongoing spat with Sony over patent violations as well where both companies have issued suits against the other about infringements pertaining to digital cameras and related technologies. In addition Kodak has been named as one of 31 defendents in a case over the use of a JPEG related patent that Forgent claims to own.

      As usual, I'm betting on the lawyers being the only winners while the companies themselves suffer death by a thousand paper cuts from all of the legal documents...

      • by Ender Ryan (79406) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @02:47PM (#9094776) Journal
        As usual, I'm betting on the lawyers being the only winners while the companies themselves suffer death by a thousand paper cuts from all of the legal documents...

        If you've said it a thousand times, you still haven't said it enough. While tech companies bleed off programmers and other skilled employees and move development overseas, lawyers are getting paid more and more to do... what exactly?

        Now while the U.S. is falling way behind in engineering and sciences, lawyers are becoming even more numerous. Well, what the hell are they going to do in court when we as a country no longer do ANYTHING? The less we do, the pettier the lawsuits become.

        Of course, this doesn't just apply to the U.S., but I think the U.S. is the leader taking all of us down this path.

        • Now while the U.S. is falling way behind in engineering and sciences

          Funny, I had you down as a laissez-faire right-winger. Congratulations for taking an interest in facts. Was it the threat to your career path that did it for you?

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see what the non-obvious innovations are in these patents. The first one, for example, seems to describe a perfectly ordinary object system, no different from what has been in languages Smalltalk, C++, and CLOS for twenty years or more. The fact that the object system appears to be intended specifically for management of certain types of data doesn't make it any more innovative. Not that Sun's recent behavior makes me like them, but I wonder if Kodak's patents are valid.

    • by the_duke_of_hazzard (603473) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:36AM (#9093730)
      Agree totally. The terms of the abstract of the first one at least are so completely vague as to be useless. It's far from clear what's supposed to be new in these patents - they describe various things which have existed in various forms for many years, and not just in computing. For the first one, they'd also have to sue pretty much anyone who uses any sort of standardised object interface technology, including, er, Microsoft and whoever markets CORBA in any way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it wasn't for the sun, Kodak would have only seen a shadow of its potential.
  • Same old same old... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inphinity (681284) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:30AM (#9093689) Homepage
    From the patent text: "Multitasking computer system for integrating the operation of different application programs which manipulate data objects of different types"

    Is it me, or does this summary feel suspiciously like every other programming language ever written? It seems to me that core concepts fundamental to any language shouldn't be a valid basis for IP...

    • by sql*kitten (1359) * on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:45AM (#9093775)
      It seems to me that core concepts fundamental to any language shouldn't be a valid basis for IP...

      I say this every time a patent discussion comes up on /., only it never seems to sink in.

      You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the IMPLEMENTATION of an idea. The title and summary of the patent describe what it does. The body of the patent describes how it is done. The HOW is what matters in a patent.

      What Kodak is saying is that it (or rather its subsidiary Wang) invested time and money in devising a novel solution to a problem, then Sun - by whatever means - used that novel solution in its own product without compensating the original developers.

      Perhaps Sun independently came to the same conclusions in their own labs. Perhaps they simply read the patent database and copied Kodak's solution. That's for the judge to decide. Either way, Sun's lawyers should have checked first.
      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:03PM (#9093874)
        Either way, Sun's lawyers should have checked first.

        If every piece of new software were cleared against the vast number of vague, overly broad and non-novel software patent claims that the patent office has granted, then the software industry would promptly grind to a halt.

        Not to mention that such checking of each piece of functionality against millions of claims would probably take more effort than writing the program in the first place (and lawyers cost much more per hour than developers).

        Even that wouldn't protect you. Assessing the infringement potential of each patent claim vs. each piece of software is a judgement call. Even if your lawyer thinks that you're clear, it doesn't mean that the patent holder agrees. The only way to find out for sure is a costly trial (and possibly appeals).

        • lawyers cost much more per hour than developers

          I dunno... it might actually be cheaper to simply contact the patent holder and license it than it would be to develop it yourself from scratch. That's one of the points of the patent system, after all, to encourage investment in research by providing a framework for getting paid for it by people who find your research relevant to them. Xerox has operated this way for years, as has ARM.

          Not that the patent system isn't broken, at the moment. The Patent Offic
          • as the AC said, you have to know first there's a patent in the field. This is not trivial even for older patents. Then, for any new idea one would need to go through not only awarded patents, but pending applications also. And I'm talking obscure patents filed overseas, too. Then figure out whether any vaguely related ones can be infringing. How many lawyers per programmer would that require? any way you put it, all this does is skyrocket the R&D costs of any new application.

            The patent system as it is
      • You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the IMPLEMENTATION of an idea. The title and summary of the patent describe what it does. The body of the patent describes how it is done. The HOW is what matters in a patent.

        Well, strictly speaking the CLAIMS are what matter in a patent.

        The author has to give a description of one way what is claimed could be implemented, that is good enough that somebody with normal skill in the art could create a working version of the invention ("sufficient disclosure"

  • patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by jlechem (613317) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:32AM (#9093706) Homepage Journal

    Everyone knows patents are bad blah blah blah but let's take a look at these patents in question.

    5,206,951 [uspto.gov] - Integration of data between typed objects by mutual, direct invocation between object managers corresponding to object types

    5,421,012 [uspto.gov] - Multitasking computer system for integrating the operation of different application programs which manipulate data objects of different types

    5,226,161 [uspto.gov] - Integration of data between typed data structures by mutual direct invocation between data managers corresponding to data types .

    This just looks like object oriented programming to me. So how can they sue SUN over Java. I was under the impression you couldn't patent things like this.

    • Re:patents (Score:3, Informative)

      by servoled (174239)
      Did you read the claims or only the title? Please try to remember that the title is only there to give a quick idea what the patent is about, the summary is there only to give a slightly more detailed idea, the specification is there to tell the reader how the patent may be put into use and the claims are there to define what the patent covers. If you only read the title you have no idea what the patent actually covers or how it is implemented, so you basically have no idea what the patent is actually abo
      • "If you only read the title you have no idea what the patent actually covers or how it is implemented"

        I read through both the title and description but the not the full claim. How could the system work if the title has nothing to do with what the patent covers. I could see the implementation being somewhat different due to technical problems but the description and title should be very indicative of what the patent covers. Otherwise I'm going to invent a new computer chip or some material and call

        • The title is only there to help people who are looking through a number of patents get a vague idea of what the patent talks about. For example, the first patent listed in the story is entitled: "Integration of data between typed objects by mutual, direct invocation between object managers corresponding to object types" which one tell someone that the patent has something to do with data objects and object managers. If there were looking for something along those lines, they could then read more into it t
    • I was under the impression you couldn't patent things like this.

      You can attempt to patent anything. Then a patent examiner comes and he has a few hours to decide whether or not your application is valid, despite the fact that he has no knowledge at all about the subject. Sometimes the patent is granted, under the notion that if it isn't valid, this can always be fought out in court.

    • Re:patents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Minna Kirai (624281) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @01:56PM (#9094463)
      I was under the impression you couldn't patent things like this.

      I guess you're new to Slashdot, because we've been complaining about the whole idea of software patents for years.

      The fact is, you can't write any nontrivial computer program without infringing on multiple patents.

      You point out that these "inventions" seem obvious. That's certainly true today, and maybe was true back when the patents were filed (some are 10+ years old). But looking at the validity of patents from the highest level, there's actually a factor much more important than obviousness: "Would the 'inventor' have created and then not hidden this thing if she didn't anticipate patent protection?"

      If the answer is yes, then by the US Constitution, patents shouldn't apply. (Constitution states that Intellectual Property is allowed only to "promote progress of science and useful arts").

      That's why medicines should be patentable (because few people will go through the enormous investment to test a drug if generics can copy it immediately) but most software and business practices (like Amazon's "One Click") shouldn't be (because Amazon would've invented and implemented that system regardless of having patent protection)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:33AM (#9093713)
    ... their position on Patent on Java. That's why maybe some tought "ok, let sue them" ;-)

    Ok, some offtopic now, i saw on /. some dumb things opensource & Java. As a reminder, thanks to Apach Group you have no more (!!) limitation build a opensource version complient with the spec.

    See for instance a "nice" reference in the Tiger specification (upcoming J2SE1.5)

    http://www.jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=176

    4.1 This section contains any additional information that the submitting Member wishes to include in the JSR.

    Sun plans to adhere to the proposed new JSPA licensing model for this JSR, including allowing independent implementations, licensing the TCK separately from the RI, minimizing shared code, and licensing any remaining shared code (such as the verifier) on simple non-restrictive licensing terms. In addition Sun plans to make it easier for academic and non-profit groups to obtain access to the RI and TCKs.

    So why is GNU's classpath still lagging ? anybody at FSF care about the advantage this could bring to OSS comunity ? Think of it Mr RMS ;-)

    Let's get GNU's Classpath full Java complient !!!

    This is not at all trollish in mind, it is just something i warn people that is now possible, and whatever Sun is willing to do in the future they can no more do anything about that ;-)

    Of course some people, said that the RI should be OSed (cf. the last ran between Sun & IBM couple of days ago). I agree if it is a GPL, but if is a less viral license then the risk of seen MS take advantage of this to weaken the platform is high.

    Meanwhile, why wait from Sun, when we can get our own ;-)
    • Um, why? Why would I spend the time working with a partial implementation of Java, when I can download the complete Java from Sun and use it? Along with the argument of 'What possible benefit would Sun have in open sourceing Java' I really have to say 'Of what benefit to me is an OSS Java?' Considering I can't be all that different from a whole group of people, of what real benefit is there to Open Java, either the current Java from Sun or a Java implementation from someone else?
  • Well..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 10101001011 (744876) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:34AM (#9093719) Homepage
    I'm not a fan of Kodak. Their close-minded strategies, their crappy "Easy Share" cameras with even worse batteries, their kiosks that supposedly make photo imaging simple and yet take longer and often don't work and I most certainly detest any company that relies on suing people to make money (yes, this means I hate law firms too). I can however say that it is sad to see Kodak going this way. They were, at one point in my life, a very strong and well-respected company who was on the leading edge of photography and lent a lot to the world. Unfortunely they lack any adaptability at this point in time, their profits are dwindling and their company could be facing bankruptcy if there is no upsurge in 35mm camera purchases...

    As I said, it will be sad to see them go, though when the inevitable does happen, I hope they smile for the camera....
  • The patents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pranjal (624521) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:35AM (#9093724)

    The patents deal with objects and the way objects can be manipulated in a computer. Basically it deals with object oriented programming. Now someone tell me that OOPS is not patented a technology and we don't have to pay a royalty everytime we write a program using the OOPS paradigm.

    So the question is what ramifications do these software patents have for the programming world as a whole? And why is Kodak targetting only Java and therefore Sun. Why not C++ or other OOPS languages?

    • Re:The patents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ites (600337) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:39AM (#9093743) Journal
      Because there are only two companies that promote and sell OOPS languages on a large scale. 1: Microsoft. 2: Sun.

      When launching patent lawsuits, it is generally best to go after smaller players first. If Sun were to accept Kodak's patents (or were to lose the court action), Kodak would have a better basis for going after Microsoft.

      They're not going to sue the C++ standards committee because it won't earn them anything except hostility.
      • They're not going to sue the C++ standards committee because it won't earn them anything except hostility.

        Not to mention that the C++ standard committee doesn't actually produce anything other than standards. Individual vendors produce compilers.

        Patents would apply to the latter, not the former.
        • Re:The patents (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Too Much Noise (755847) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:19PM (#9093979) Journal
          Looking over the first patent it appears to be a library issue, not a compiler one. Unless I read it totally wrong, this could have even CORBA/COM as prior art. For example:
          • An object based data processing system including an extensible set of object types and a corresponding set of "object managers" wherein each object manager is a program for operating with the data stored in a corresponding type of object. The object managers in general support at least a standard set of operations. Looks a lot like interfaces 'operating on' implementations to me.
          • Any program can effect performance of these standard operations on objects of any type by making an "invocation" request. In response to an invocation request, object management services (which are available to all object managers) identifies and invokes an object manager that is suitable for performing the requested operation on the specified type of data. Can you spell factory class?
          • Data interchange services are provided for communicating data between objects of different types, using a set of standard data interchange formats. err ... marshalling?


          so ... what's innovative here?
          • I read it totally wrong, this could have even CORBA/COM as prior art.

            CORBA and COM are standards, not products.

            The CORBA standard says WHAT you must do to be CORBA. One CORBA product might implement it one way, another CORBA product might implement it the other way. CORBA doesn't care HOW you do it internally, or even what language you do it in, only that you present a CORBA-compliant interface to the rest of the system.

            What Kodak is saying is that they have developed a novel means to do the HOW. That t
            • Re:The patents (Score:3, Interesting)

              well, the first patent at least is just a spec - there's no implementation attached (the filing has only 55 pages, including figures). Moreover, they use generic examples (folders, spreadsheets) about how to use the spec, not exact details (app spreadsheet101 does this and that using ObjectManager105). The bulk of the filing are function names and descriptions, field sizes and such. These are always part of the interface spec, including CORBA.

              and no, it's not Kodak that developed it - they just got the pa
            • What Kodak is saying is that they have developed a novel means to do the HOW. That there are other means to do what WHAT is irrelevant here. So you cannot say that CORBA is prior art. You might be able to say that a specific implementation of CORBA is. But then again, without going deep into the details of the HOW, you might not.

              Below is Claim 1 of patent 5,206,951 filed August 31, 1992, a continuation of an application filed Aug. 21, 1987.

              As you can see, it's pretty generalised stuff, not about low-le

      • They're not going to sue the C++ standards committee because it won't earn them anything except hostility.

        True but that doesn't stop them from targetting the small players which come out with C++ compilers. There is something inherently suspicious why they should only target SUN. You have borland, a much smaller player. Is Java technology used in digital camera's? If it is we found our smoking gun.

      • "if Sun were to accept Kodak's patents"

        I thought this was the case. In a statement that Sun had put out a couple years ago (not sure on the time but it was during a previous round of open sourcing java discussions) McNealy said they couldn't open source java and specifically pointed out Kodak as a company that they were licensing technology from. They didn't specify exactly what it was from Kodak. It may not be these patents he was talking about.

        If it is these, and Sun wins, could this be the thing t

  • sun vs kodak (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ardiri (245358) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:38AM (#9093741) Homepage
    this i think will be an interesting debate - first, the patents can be flagged as suspicious; however, they do predate java (just) :P i think that kodak has been spurred on from this due to the sun vs m$ settlement recently.

    first things that come to my mind

    - why wait nearly 10 years?
    (i started Java development in 1995, certified 1999)
    is there any reason why kodak didn't come forward when Java became public in 1995? they say they'll been trying to resolve it for 2-3 years, but that still marks it as 2001-2002 (6-7 years after creation).

    - can you really due if no money is being made?
    sun doesn't sell Java, so, technically kodak is not losing money from the language itself. sure Sun gets side-effect benefits from Java (publicity et al). but, as the Java creator, its always been free - and, not a single dime has been made on the language itself. the sun vs' m$ was for anti-trust issues, not the language.

    these type of things make me want to patent anything i can think of and then wait for an innocent company to make it a reality and then sue their asses off.

    • Re:sun vs kodak (Score:3, Informative)

      by _|()|\| (159991)
      why wait nearly 10 years? ... can you really [s]ue if no money is being made?

      Kodak only acquired the patents in 1997. Wang didn't know or didn't care about the alleged infringement.

      "A patentee has the exclusive right to make, use, or sell the invention ... Anyone who, without permission, makes, uses or sells the patented invention is a direct infringer of the patent" [Intellectual Property in a Nutshell].

    • Re:sun vs kodak (Score:4, Informative)

      by abulafia (7826) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:12PM (#9093944)
      - can you really due if no money is being made?
      sun doesn't sell Java, so, technically kodak is not losing money from the language itself. sure Sun gets side-effect benefits from Java (publicity et al). but, as the Java creator, its always been free - and, not a single dime has been made on the language itself. the sun vs' m$ was for anti-trust issues, not the language.

      Of course you can sue. The intent of a patent is to grant a limited monopoly. Any unauthorized use of the patented invention is covered.

      If that weren't the case, (a) people involved with Open Source wouldn't be so freaked out about patents, and (b) strategic attacks on patent holders that didn't involve making money directly on the covered invention would make the value of a patent significantly significantly smaller than it is today.

      I'm not defending patents; I'm just stating the obvious. (Hey, what's slashdot for?)

    • Re:sun vs kodak (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Euler (31942)
      A patent attorney would say: patent defenses [ipwatchdog.com] a patent must be enforced within a reasonable amount of time that infringement is known, and there must be an intended use claimed by the patent.

      Kodak certainly is pretty late in enforcing its patent, and I think its unlikely that they have a practical use either.

      It seems to me that the reason Sun couldn't settle before going to trial is that there is nothing to settle here. Kodak is just wasting everyone's time and money.
  • by AchilleTalon (540925) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:52AM (#9093816) Homepage
    the legal action maybe for something in the decision of Sun to not release Java to the open source community.

    I may be totally wrong, but this kind of action altought not directly profitable to the suer, may accomplish other goals, read FUD.

  • We talk to much here on /. about companies like SCO trying to dig themselves out of the red by suing for money. I don't know anything at all about this case, but I'm wondering if this is happening here. I live in Rochester, where Kodak is our largest employer, and all we ever hear about is Kodak losing money, closing divisions, and outsourcing labor.

    I'm always appalled when the RIAA steals money from 12 year olds to try and keep from dying. Yet now that it may be (probably not, I trust that they have a
    • I'm always appalled when the RIAA steals money from 12 year olds to try and keep from dying. Yet now that it may be (probably not, I trust that they have a ligitamate case) happening to a company that employs many of my friends, I'm rooting for them.

      It is only human, I guess. I just hope you weren't part of yesterday's [slashdot.org] bashing against SCO employees for not leaving a company with dubious business practices? That would be too ironic IMHO.

      Guess I must be new around here...

  • by Phidoux (705500) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:07PM (#9093891) Homepage
    ...in the USA ever take time off from their busy legal schedules to do business?
  • Sun has to fight this suit, and not someone in the Open Source community. IANAL, but I wonder if their liability would be the same if they had GPL'd the code.

    From looking at the patents, however, I'd imagine there's a lot of prior art. For example, would sharing data structures between programs or libraries using Inter Process Communication, and semaphores (handled by code serving as a manager of data objects) be in violation of the patents?

    If Sun looses, however, it looks to me like C# and .NET would a

    • From looking at the patents, however, I'd imagine there's a lot of prior art. For example, would sharing data structures between programs or libraries using Inter Process Communication, and semaphores (handled by code serving as a manager of data objects) be in violation of the patents?

      No. That would be quite a stretch, to call processes objects, and system calls messaging. The fact that they accomplish the same thing doesn't matter. Applying it to objects here is the innovation. You wish you thought of

  • Kodak is Dumb. (Score:1, Informative)

    by DAldredge (2353)
    This is the same kodak that is offshoring film production because they are unable to compete with Fuji Film.

    Fuji Film is made in the USA.

    Kodak exes are just a bunch of idiots who could not give away the cure for cancer.
    • Re:Kodak is Dumb. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by treerex (743007)

      This is the same kodak that is offshoring film production because they are unable to compete with Fuji Film.

      Offshoring is being done because it is cheaper. Period. Kodak has many problems, for sure, but film competition is not one of them any more. Their Portra line of professional films is outstanding: I certainly prefer them to Fuji's portrain films. Their black and white films and their chemicals are still some of the best.

      The biggest recent problem for Kodak has been the onset of Digital photograp

  • by Wookie Monster (605020) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:13PM (#9093951)
    The Kodak patents are dated 1993 and 1995. The Oak programming language, which is the basis of Java, existed by 1992. See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

    This appears to me to be a case of prior art, by Java itself. I guess Kodak thinks changing a product's name is equivalent to it being born. Anything that existed before never happened.

    • by servoled (174239) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:26PM (#9094031)
      To bad the 1993 and 1995 dates are meaningless as far as prior art is concerned. The important dates are the filing dates and priotity dates, the issue date does not matter. All three patents have priority to United States patent application Ser. No. 07/088,622 entitled Data Integration by Object Management by Dana Khoyi et al., filed Aug. 21, 1987.

      So, for an item to qualify as prior art, it must be data prior to August 21, 1987 which by the dates you have given, Oak does not meet.
      • All three patents have priority to United States patent application Ser. No. 07/088,622 entitled Data Integration by Object Management by Dana Khoyi et al., filed Aug. 21, 1987.

        Interesting...that means the 17 years of exclusivity granted by the patent are almost up, right? In that case, Kodak doesn't have much more time to grab what they can.
        • Under the pre-1995 patents were granted terms of 17 years from the issue date (i.e. the 1993 and 1995) dates. After 1995 it was changed to 20 years from the filing date. So, these patents would be in effect until at least 2010.

          See here [lectlaw.com] for more information on determining the expiration dates of patents.
      • But this is essentially about programming style - Lisp has been around a long time and programs using object-like access methods for about as long.
        • Are you sure that is all this patent is about? If so, why not try looking at the claims and see what LISP covers.

          Here's a little exercize for you: Try comparing LISP with the independent claims word for word and see if they match. Also, don't assume anything about LISP that you can't prove. Go back and find some old user manuals from before August 21, 1987 and see if LISP actually meets all the limitations of the claim. I'm interested to know what you come up with.
      • You seem to be wrong.

        Their first '93 patent refers to the '87 application (not patent) as 'now abandoned'. There's no patent issued to Dana Khoyi prior to 1993 - 5,206,951 and that one was filed in '91. So any pre-'91 prior art should be ok.
        • That is absolutely incorrect. The original application (07/088,622) may have been abandoned, but they filed a new application (07/681,435) prior to the abandonment date (i.e. "This is a continuation of copending application Ser. No. 07/088,622"), which means that the new application gets an effective filing date of the previous application's filing date. This is allowed under 35 U.S.C. 120 [cornell.edu].
          • If the start date is 1987... doesn't that mean the patent expired over five years ago? If not, why not? Do they get over 20 years by submarining?

          • I stand corrected :-)

            hmm ... given that the previous application was submitted some 4 years before this gives rise to an interesting perspective ... say you file for some crap now and after 2-3 years snatch some new idea in the field and just amend your previous filing (ok, that's a bit overblown, but not entirely impossible). Would that make your application take precedence to any other one since the original filing date is earlier?
            • They have that covered by 35 USC 120 [cornell.edu] which states

              An application for patent for an invention disclosed in the manner provided by the first paragraph of section 112 of this title in an application previously filed in the United States

              This basically means that the application filed must conform the to rules of 35 USC 112 [cornell.edu] first paragarph. Let's see what 112 first says:

              The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, cl

  • In keeping form... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Roached (84015)
    ...with the finest traditions of companies going down the toilet, Kodak has resorted to the "litigate to make a final buck" tactic.
  • by frankie_guasch (164676) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:55PM (#9094173)
    We europeans have luck because the European Parlament decided against software patents [eu.int]. Now this is in jeopardy.
    The patent officials in the Commission and Council are abusing the legislative process of the EU. Their convoluted and misleading Patent Newspeak, negotiated in intransparent backroom dealings, is an insult to the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of Regions and the innumerable experts and concerned citizens who have engaged in serious investigations on this directive project. It is unacceptable that the Council is throwing away all their hard work without any substantial justification whatsoever.
    One to blame is the Irish Presidence, Sponsored by Microsoft [eu2004.ie].
    FFII [ffii.org] web site with more info about software patents.
    Soon there will be ellections for the European Parlament, take care of what you vote and if you have the ocasion, ask the politians about this issue.

  • Take a look at those patents.

    Didn't those idiots ever hear of CORBA?

    Of course, its Sun's own fault. If they weren't so anal-retentive about control of the language, they could of submitted it to an open-standards body, and then Kodak would have had a hell of a time trying to enforce those patents...

    • So, what exactly is flamebait?

      That CORBA will probably invalidate the patents?

      Or that Sun exposed itself to the lawsuit by not putting java up to a standards committee?
  • by wheelgun (178700) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @01:13PM (#9094266)
    Kodak's biggest fault is a tendency to rely on proprietary products for profit. Ask a vintage camera collector if he uses any of his old Kodak cameras. The answer will likely be "hell no!"

    This is because most Kodak cameras were made to use propietary Kodak film formats like 620 instead of superior open formats like 120 and 220. I have a Kodak II Tourist bellows camera that collects dust because it uses 620.

    My mom's old Instamatic is a another example of this Kodak problem. Her Instamatic 700, which she took around Europe in the 1960s is useless, as it uses a film format Kodak decided to stop making in the late 1980s.

    Kodak could be raking in the dough from film sales for these old cameras. They exist in attics and storage boxes by the hundreds of thousands. But Kodak will never see that money, because they themselves chose to stop making the film and nobody makes modern cameras for those formats anyway.

    • Kodak could be raking in the dough from film sales for these old cameras.

      Kodak stopped making film for these cameras precisely because they weren't making money on them. Anybody using a bellows camera in the US with a format smaller than 4"x5" after about 1965 was in for a lot of ridicule. Instamatics were always regarded as junk by anybody doing even "advanced amateur" photography. (The Instamatic cartidge can't hold film in a dependable enough position to get reliably sharp pictures at wide lens apertur

  • The claims are a case study why software patents should never be allowed.

    I am not trained in reading patentease but Patent 5,226,161 [uspto.gov] sounds a lot like Perl's tie feature where you can "link" a variable to a "data object" such as a file, database, serial port, shared memory, etc. I am sure prior art will crush this claim.
    • When was the tie function created? According to Perl history [ualberta.ca] Perl wasn't released until December 18, 1987. These applications have priority to August 21, 1987, so Perl itself might not even qualify as prior art given the first public release date. It is also possible that the tie function wasn't even released with the first release of Perl.
  • Ugh, I worked with them. Once IE upgraded to 5.0 those ActiveX controls broke. We had to move to LeadTools instead. Also I do not think those controls worked too well with Windows 2000 either.

    Perhaps MS broke those controls, who knows? All I know was that they were awful and a real pain to work with. There are easier ways to display a TIF file. We used TIF files for displaying documents, WTF? I told them to migrate to Acrobat Reader, but nooooooooo, the managers were too cheap to do that and forced us to u
  • by UrgleHoth (50415) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @04:51PM (#9095511) Homepage
    If SCO and Kodak merged to form a single litigation corporation would we then see Scodak?
  • Briefly looking through the mentioned patents (because they are very long and dull), it appears that they are claiming that they invented the concepts of OOP and Multitasking. I can't remember what year I started doing OOP, but I do remember using Deskview to multitask DOS many years before that patent.

    There has to be a better solution that the Patent process these days. It should be obvious to the actual people who invent things that the big businesses end up winning any Patent issue, not the individual

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