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Kodak vs. Sun Java Trial Date Set 152

sirshannon writes "CNET News.com.com.com.com is reporting that the Kodak vs. Sun trial date has been set for September 15. Kodak claims that Java infringes on 3 patents they hold and have been trying to "resolve" the issue for 4 years or so. More info here."
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Kodak vs. Sun Java Trial Date Set

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  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • Re:patents (Score:3, Informative)

    by servoled ( 174239 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:59AM (#9093853)
    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 about.

    It is also important to note that Kodak is not suing SUN using the title of their patents, only the claims which are the only part of the patent which provide any protection at all.
  • Re:sun vs kodak (Score:3, Informative)

    by _|()|\| ( 159991 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:11PM (#9093927)
    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].

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

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:11PM (#9093937) Journal
    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: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?)

  • 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.
  • Re:Great. (Score:3, Informative)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:28PM (#9094044) Homepage
    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 actions here, of course. The patents look pretty sketchy, but then again I've only read the abstracts. Maybe in the main body they elaborate something new, so I'll refrain from judgment.
  • Re:Great. (Score:3, Informative)

    by allyourbasebelongtou ( 765748 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:40PM (#9094098) Homepage
    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 likely be sliced into a much smaller company just to stay afloat. What a shame.

    Its only hope is that Hollywood continues using traditional film for feature films forever. Oh, wait, that's not gonna happen, either. Scratch that.

    Ah yes, Wang! Software! We have a way out! Let's get people to pay us for our patents! Nice try.

    I have to give them praise for trying to work out something with Sun amicably (however zany the claim may seem to us now) without pushing the big red LAWSUIT button long ago, but it does quite seem to be an attempt to make an end run for the cash.

    My only advice to Kodak: get HP to buy you. (You heard it here first.)

  • 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.

  • by servoled ( 174239 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @01:43PM (#9094394)
    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.
  • by servoled ( 174239 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @06:35PM (#9096152)
    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].

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