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Kodak vs. Sun Java Trial Date Set 152

sirshannon writes "CNET 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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  • 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.
  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer.alum@mit@edu> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:29AM (#9093683) Homepage

    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.

  • 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....
  • 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.
  • 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: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.
  • 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).

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

    by Euler ( 31942 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:14PM (#9093953) Journal
    A patent attorney would say: patent defenses [] 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.
  • 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 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.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.