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Google Loses Bedrock Suit, All Linux May Infringe

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the take-one-guess-which-district dept.

Android 347

blair1q writes "CNet reports that Google has lost the lawsuit brought by Bedrock, for infringing on Patent 5,893,120, 'Methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data,' and has exposed the Linux kernel, in which the infringing code reportedly appears, to liability for patent-license fees. Red Hat also participated in the suit, arguing that the patent was invalid, but the court decided otherwise."

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Not here.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35900764)

We dont have software patents in the real world.

Cost of immigration (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900904)

How much does immigration to the real world cost? Can the real world absorb 300 million refugees from the United States patent regime?

Sadly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901102)

You probably mean 100k refugees ... at best. *sigh*

Re:Cost of immigration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901122)

At least Google is welcome, the rest will be sent back to the US ASAP. Bunch of lawyers...

Re:Cost of immigration (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901220)

how about we just send then beaners and nignogs?

Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogus (5, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900782)

Apparently the company is owned by an East Texas lawyer, and does not do anything except file patent lawsuits against everybody.

Patent Litigation Weekly: PubPat and "Patent Troll" Make Strange Bedfellows

Meanwhile, it's not unusual that a patent-enforcement company recently set up in East Texas would file suit there this week against ten Internet-based and software companies. Nor is it unusual that Texas corporate records show the company is owned by an erstwhile big-firm lawyer, in this case David Garrod, formerly of Goodwin Procter.

http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_prior_art/2009/06/pubpat-and-patent-troll-make-strange-bedfellows.html

Here is a sad, 2009 slashdot article about the company.

Patent Trolls Target Small East Texas Companies

> Posted by kdawson on Friday July 24 2009, @09:14AM
> from the patently-absurd dept.
> An anonymous reader writes "In a sign that patent trolls are getting desperate to keep their cases in East Texas — long known as the friendliest venue for their claims — some have taken to suing tiny, no-name companies that are run by East Texas residents. The hope is that, if at least one defendant is located in East Texas, the judge will keep the entire case there. Nate Neel, a Longview, Texas resident with a small open source software company called CitiWare, was sued by Bedrock Computer Technologies in June despite (he claims) having no customers or other meaningful operations of any kind. In response, Mr. Neel has posted a strongly worded letter to Bedrock's attorneys on his Web site. It will be interesting to see how East Texas judges respond to this abuse of process perpetrated against their own residents."

http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=bedrock

BTW: the F/OSS company, CitiWare, is no longer in business. Sued of existence?

Although I don't trust Florian Mueller any further than I can spit, I think it may be informative to read his blog post on the subject. Florian does provide court records, and good description of the patent in question.

http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/04/texas-jury-finds-against-google-in.html

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (1, Flamebait)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900892)

How can you have a friendly venue for a particular sort of legal case? Isn't there any sort of oversight which deals with what is an obvious sign of partiality? I can see a jury being biased in some way by being picked from, say, a very religious area... but why have judges at all if they're even less likely to impartially apply the law?

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900964)

I assume that "east district of texas" has somewhere around 10x the usual judges and a very large, busy courthouse and is somehow or other making a great deal of money off all this litigation.

It's a bit like red-light-cameras. Nobody likes them. They aren't serving their publicly declared purpose. But the local government won't give up their cash cow easily. So ya, they're fine with it I'd imagine. Don't expect Texas to do anything about it. But problem is, federal laws regarding jurisdiction allow them to keep doing this. There's federal laws that need to be changed to stope this abuse. There's no point in giving Texas the evil eye, they're just playing the system by the rules and are very happy to see it continue.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (4, Informative)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901106)

I assume this is tongue and cheek, but the Eastern District of Texas (in its entirety) has 10 Federal judges and 10 magistrate judges. In Marshall Texas, where a majority of the "trolls" file, there are three judges. (http://www.txed.uscourts.gov/page1.shtml?location=info)

Notwithstanding the sometimes (frequently?) wacky jury results, an interesting thing is starting to happen though with the Eastern District of Texas: the judges are getting very good at patent cases. The judges are very good at doing "claim construction" and other technical aspects of patent cases. The result is cases tend not to languish because the judge is confused or baffled by the process or technology.

By contrast, there are districts that it is virtually impossible to litigate patent infringement cases because there is NO expertise among the judges.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901364)

Well they certainly did an outstanding job in this case. I always have, and always will, completely ignore all USPTO software patents,
except to assess their value as the butt of jokes and ridicule.

( I live in the real world, not the innovation-crushing US of A).

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901388)

Patent suits are are only decided by Jury at the first stage. This one gets automatically appealed. Just like all the other ones.

I wouldn't get too worked up about this.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35900910)

If only Florian didn't spin everything to his own personal vendetta... I might actually read his articles.

But he ducks and weaves and picks out all the wrong facts to focus on... And gets it entirely wrong.

As far as the linux kernel goes? They've picked a very specific release train. 2.4.22, which came out in 25-Aug-2003 .

So, there's really nothing prior to that which offends the patent? Given the generic elevator/tree description of the patent, i find it very hard to believe.

I also note that they don't call out what code actually offends, so there's no way to track down when it specifically came into being -
but of course, that's useful when you don't want to call attention to the fact that the code has been in place longer than the patent has been around....

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (4, Interesting)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901434)

I'm certain this will get quashed in appeal when a real court hears it. :) (East Texas is really just Western Arkansas, only with more teeth, but the same amount of sister-love......)

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900990)

Is it just me, or does this patent describe a hashtable?

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (2)

suutar (1860506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901036)

it describes a specific implementation of a hashtable (linked list for collision resolution, as opposed to e.g. moving the colliding item into the next bucket) with some extra features (automatic removal of 'expired' items during other operations). I still would not be at all surprised to find prior art.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901210)

It's not a patent for doing that, it's a patent for a way of doing that.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a patch for it.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901294)

Wow. My copy of "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen has the first half of that. And the second, surely that falls under the realm of obvious ways to improve an algorithm.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901038)

It's just you. The patent is on garbage collecting a hashtable/linked list combination while it is in use.

Re:Bedrock is patent troll, and the patent is bogu (3, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901058)

It's just you. The patent is on garbage collecting a hashtable/linked list combination while it is in use.

That sounds so immensely innovative that I'm not at all surprised that a patent was granted for it.

Re: garbage collecting (3, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901256)

You know what this technology would be well suited to? Garbage collecting software patents from USPTO.

I mean I'm sorry USPTO. You do not have the right to tell me I'm not allowed to think up an (THE) obvious
solution to an obvious and easily specifiable algorithmic or data structure issue.

This is basic second year computer science undergrad basics, at best.

This is complete crap.

If I were Google UI would vest all my software technology rights in a small branch company in Barbados and be done with it.

Re: garbage collecting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901312)

actuallly, the USPTA is allowed to tell you what you can think up. As the number of thinking people increases, the absurdity of this proposition becomes evident. C'est la vie.

Re: garbage collecting (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901480)

I don't care if Parent Teacher Associations have gone federal or not, they are not allowed to tell me what I can think up. Won't someone think of the children? Wait, now I'm starting to tell you what you can think.

Windows and MacOS Uses this as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901186)

I'm sure it does, its a fundamental part of any operating system...

So.....Linux is the New BSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35900786)

So now Linux will be the New BSD that will for many years be hindered by lawsuits and the BSD will be the New Linux spreading like wildfire unencumbered by lawsuits? How times change!

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900806)

If companies like Microsoft, and Apple, are successful, then yes.

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35900872)

Nowadays I don't believe that MS is the enemy.

Apple has much to lose from the advancement of Linux with Google's Droid OS.

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900900)

Bet you a nickel the iOS kernel infringes in much the same way.

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901132)

Bet you a dime it's too much work for a patent troll to reverse engineer it to establish reasonable suspicion (or w/e it's called in civil cases) so they can sue them and get the relevant source in discovery. Judges don't look kindly on fishing expeditions (i.e. "well, it's the best way of doing it, so we're pretty sure they're doing it that way, so make them give us the files so we can prove it") in general; then again, this is East Texas, so maybe that's not the obstacle it is in real courts.

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901248)

The darwin kernel source code is available.

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900906)

Everyone wants to play in the smartphone market. MS is already touting Windows 8 on ARM. And can't even get a foot into the tablet market, because of the Apple and Android players. If Android can't be easily untethered from licensing issues, it will open a big hole for Ballmer & Co. on every front of the future of personal computing.

Re:So.....Linux is the New BSD? (1)

keytoe (91531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901144)

Nowadays I don't believe that MS is the enemy.

Apple has much to lose from the advancement of Linux with Google's Droid OS.

A patent like this when validated takes everyone down. Linux, BSD and other open codebases are significantly more visible to these trolls, so they draw fire first - but something as vague as this hits everyone.

Apple has a significant investment in open code that would likely be found in violation of this patent, so why on earth would they try to destroy it? So does Microsoft. And IBM, Oracle and many, many other companies with very deep pockets. This is, effectively, mutually assured destruction for them.

The only type of person who stands to benefit is a patent troll firing off pot shots from a safe distance. Hey! What do you know!

Appeals? (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900878)

This one has *got* to find itself appealed, and that appeal will happen well outside of East Texas.

I for one do not see folks like IBM, RH, Intel, Oracle, or other huge companies simply forking over either, even if the "licensing fee" was something ridiculously low. IT would be the camel's nose in the tent, and they know it.

Re:Appeals? (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901206)

Specifically, the appeal will happen in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where all patent-related cases go after the district court.

Gotta love em (5, Insightful)

vladbo (2038928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900924)

The good ol' software patent, a method and apparatus for extortion and not much else.

Re:Gotta love em (2)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900986)

Also a good way to kill the foss competition.

Re:Gotta love em (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901214)

yeah, but Bedrock doesn't own the business-model patent for that

so all your royalty are belong to Rambus

Hmmm... isn't linux used for Wall St. trading? (2)

whovian (107062) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900966)

It wouldn't surprise me if TPTB squash Bedrock like a bug.
 

Re:Hmmm... isn't linux used for Wall St. trading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901070)

It wouldn't surprise me if TPTB squash Bedrock like a bug.

That WOULD surprise me. What would sound normal to me is if Microsoft already has a solution "conveniently" waiting in the wings to offer Wall Street and claimed it would help create jobs and heal the economy. And make everyone happy and make unicorns shit rainbows and candy on Capital Hill and make those unsightly undesirables with their hippy communist OS go away.

Re:Hmmm... isn't linux used for Wall St. trading? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901074)

Yep, the trolls may have finally pissed off the wrong people.

Unfortunately, the "wrong people" might decide that SW patents are still useful. They'll come up with some way to squash them using a ruling that's just narrow enough to squash this particular bug, and not too many others. They've been known to do that.

This may be Great News!! (3, Interesting)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900994)

Look on the bright side... Hopefully this will finally get the big companies to realize the current absurdity in the patent system, and push their paid for politicians to reform the system. Their practice of building a war chests of patents does little when you have a someone like this who (like wall street and finance in general) builds nothing and has no productive business function.

Re:This may be Great News!! (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901384)

On the flip-side, it might encourage big companies to believe that software patents = easy money for no work. They're already doing less than they need to be, the last thing we want is for their shareholders to insist they can make the same profits by doing less.

Groklaw... (5, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901000)

Cancel that retirement party

Um, wtf? (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901002)

methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data.

information storage and retrieval - nothing new here.
using a hashing technique - nothing new here
with external chaining - using what?
and on-the-fly removal of expired data - "on-the-fly" is a nice buzzword, but this is also nothing new.

So apparently we can just mix and match random old techniques, and call it innovation and get it patented?

Re:Um, wtf? (5, Interesting)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901134)

Yep that's exactly what happens when you allow patents on raw ideas rather than specific and detailed implementations. No software patent should be valid without the source code detailing the implementation where simply changing code to work differently completely avoids the patent. Of course if that was the case nearly every software patent would be gone with the exception of things like the RSA patents where changing the code would make it no longer work.

The problem with the patent office is that when they started allowing companies to patent raw ideas in the form of software and business method patents suddenly you could get a patent for an idea with no implementation, make it as vague as possible and then sue everyone. And that's exactly what's been happening and getting more and more common. It's the reason the courts are being overwhelmed with patent suits and it's also the reason the patent office is being swarmed with patent applications. Reinforce the old rule that requires that the patent detail a specific implementation (and in the case of a software patent that means the source code is part of the patent) and much of the problems with the patent system will go away. The side benefit is all but the most important and innovative software inventions are no longer patentable and business method patents go away entirely.

Ah but we can hope the upcoming patent cases before the Supreme reach exactly this conclusion and reverse the nastiness the court created when they essentially allowed business method patents by invalidating previous tests. The only valid patent system is one that deals in specific implementations.

Re:Um, wtf? (1)

unjedai (966274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901172)

So apparently we can just mix and match random old techniques, and call it innovation and get it patented?

Of course. That's what almost all innovation is. Didn't you see "Flash of Genius"?

Re:Um, wtf? (3, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901240)

Well, actually, you have to look at the claims. In this case, however, I'm a bit surprised that nobody could come up with invalidating art. See the Google Patents entry (since Patentstorm sucks ass) and scroll down to read the claims.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=X4QXAAAAEBAJ [google.com]

Prior Art? (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901004)

Which portion of the linux kernal supposedly infringes? Does prior ary mean anything here?

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901054)

And more specifically, was the allegedly infringing part of the kernel added after 1997?

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901116)

If there were prior art, google would have presented it at trial.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901170)

Does prior ary mean anything here?

If it did, you would think Google would have found it and made that argument, right? Of course it hinges on the fact that, in order to invalidate a patent you have to meet a very high bar of proof and not just the "preponderance of the evidence" bar. In fact, that high bar for invalidation of patents is now going before the SCOTUS in the MS vs i4i. But, if there were worthy prior art you would think that Google could have found it and submitted it. There must not have been.

Stupid patent system (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901014)

Combining a chained hash table with a priority queue was obvious 40 years ago. How can something like this be patented? It seems it is time for severe penalties for trying to patent obvious things. Like a few years in prison. These people do way more damage than terrorists ever did.

Re:Stupid patent system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901064)

Wait, what? A fine, maybe, but years in prison is wayy overkill for something that is unlikely to have anything more than a miniscule financial effect upon the average consumer.

Re:Stupid patent system (3, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901112)

i agree with GP, something like "fraud against the people" or "attempted fraud against the people" and treated as any other fraudulent act or attempt at a fraudulent act for the dollar amount sued for or demanded in lieu of court proceedings

Re:Stupid patent system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901160)

In American law, there is no "people," there are only individual persons.

Re:Stupid patent system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901136)

What fine? A capital punishment, not less!

Re:Stupid patent system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901180)

If I someone burns down your business and steals your car that is unlikely to have anything more than a minuscule financial effect upon the average consumer. Should they not face jail time?

Re:Stupid patent system (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901212)

I think he was referring to patenting the spending of a few years in prison. And it's brilliant. Think about it: there'd be tons of infringers - and these people are already convicted, which means they probably have shitty legal representation. Easy money!

Re:Stupid patent system (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901316)

If that's the case, why didn't Red Hat's lawyers take care of it?

Re:Stupid patent system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901348)

It will be an awesome age when writing a single line of code requires five or six patent lawyers to see to it that it is taken care of.

Re:Stupid patent system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901426)

They tried, but it was a jury trial. And to a jury, everything involving software might as well be rocket science.

Re:Stupid patent system (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901486)

In a jury trial, if your lawyer can't explain it so a 6-year-old can understand it, then your lawyer is a chump.

Where do you think the money goes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901508)

See, we don't even know who half these patent trolls are. They all tend to have weird ownership structures that make it impossible to track down which individuals actually own the companies. It's possible, and there have been rumors, that some of these companies allegedly funnel that money overseas, where it could go on to fund terrorism. It makes sense, doesn't it? Destroy your enemy's economy and then use the money to buy bombs to kill their children.

Prior art, right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901024)

The original Linux kernel came almost ten years before the patent was filed. Good luck finding when it started "infringing" on the patent. Also, almost every serious CS major has probably infringed on this stupid patent.

Can Google get out of East Texas? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901032)

Like if it refuses to index sites in East Texas would the other businesses there sit up and clean up the mess there?

Are all juries in east Texas mentally retarded? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901056)

They sure seem like it.

Re:Are all juries in east Texas mentally retarded? (0)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901088)

See George Bush, Jr.

Need I say more?

Re:Are all juries in east Texas mentally retarded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901188)

Oooooo... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, wow you made a lame Bush Jr joke, wow you're fucking creative.

Re:Are all juries in east Texas mentally retarded? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901494)

Haha yeah.

That's so dumb, saying W was from East Texas and typical of the stupidity there.

Everyone knows W is from West Texas, and is exceptionally stupid, even for them.

Re:Are all juries in east Texas mentally retarded? (1)

Remloc (1165839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901490)

Shrub was born in Connecticut, raised in West Texas and South Texas and now officially resides in North Texas with his ranch in Central Texas.

East Texas has it's problems (see the Jasper dragging case), but Shrub's not one of 'em.

Re:Are all juries in east Texas mentally retarded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901204)

Yes

Bedrock (0)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901042)

meet the Flintstones. They established prior art on everything form vacuum cleaners to record players.

Easily fixable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901046)

route.c

Patent translation (5, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901062)

For a layman's analogy, when rummaging through the fridge for something, they have patented noticing that the mayo is past it's expiration and so throwing it out while you're there. That is all.

Not only is it blindingly obvious to nearly anyone in the field, it's so blindingly obvious that a beginning student is fairly likely to think of it.

Re:Patent translation (1)

bgat (123664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901178)

That's an excellent analogy. Makes me wonder what went on in the courtroom that prevented the jury from seeing just how obvious this patent was!

Re:Patent translation (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901334)

It probably was a judge or panel of judges not a jury.

But having a judge who doesn't have a computer science dregree decide a software patent case's validity is
likely to result in decisions akin to having a non-physicist judge declare e=mc^2 invalid and illegal because
it makes everything disagreeably bendy.

Will they also fix Pi? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901410)

It would be awfully convenient if the value of pi is 3, instead of that stupid never ending decimal 3.141592654... So hope they will change it too. May be with retrospective effect so that I could go back to my grade school and have my math grade changed. "Mrs McGuillacady, the answer you marked wrong is correct now. So you owe me a passing grade".

Re:Patent translation (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901502)

That's an excellent analogy. Makes me wonder what went on in the courtroom that prevented the jury from seeing just how obvious this patent was!

I'd guess it was the lack of jury.

Re:Patent translation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901196)

When was the last time you saw a college student throw out food just because it was past the expiry date?

Re:Patent translation (1, Funny)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901478)

At colege level read past it's expiration as "turned brownish black with multi-colored fuzz and the GF is coming over".

Patently obvious (4, Insightful)

tricorn (199664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901090)

I won't comment on the validity, it seems pretty obvious to combine techniques for accessing/modifying a hashed/linked list with combing a list for items to delete, but there's a trivial work-around for it. Don't delete items as you comb through them, simply mark them as invalid and put them on a list of records to be recovered. Periodically, or when running low on storage, delete items on the to-be-deleted list. Might even be faster when multi-threaded if the invalidate can be done with a lightweight synchronization rather than locking the record(s) out while recycling them; can even keep a private list of invalidated records, then add that to a global list to be recycled. Claims 2, 4, 6, 8 are ridiculous on the face of it, though - using dynamic limits for ANYTHING is not novel unless you can show a significant problem that hasn't been solved before. Simply specifying a dynamic value that a routine uses to count the number of iterations of a process, length of time to spend doing something, number of things to do in a pass, etc, is 40 years old at least.

Re:Patently obvious (2)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901398)

Mixing hashes and linked lists is basically an indexed sequential database. Not revolutionary stuff.

Re:Patently obvious (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901420)

Then they will patent this too. I am sure, right now an East Texas is lawyer is cutting and pasting your posting into a patent application, as I type this.

This is Sad! (2)

cs668 (89484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901092)

It's not that novel. I'm pretty sure that in in the 20 years that I have been doing software I have done this same thing 3 times at 3 different companies that all pre-date the patent application. It's just the obvious solution for some types of problems. It's to bad that most of us just solve problems and work, because if any one of us had written a little magazine article about this there would be obvious prior art!!

Re:This is Sad! (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901250)

The patent application is dated 1997. If your work predates that, and you can still find it, you might want to talk to Google. Prior art, if the product was used and the code available.

Re:This is Sad! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901354)

Actually, prior art only refers to prior patents (why wouldn't you have patented it, if you really invented it??) and in any case, the new rule is "first to file", not "first to invent", so prior art will no longer even have zero relevance.

Technique seems obvious to me. Certainly much older than that is: hash items and resolve collisions with a linked list; prune expired items in the linked list until you reach the one you want (or the end of the list if it isn't there).

The innovation here might be: keep pruning until you reach the end of the list no matter what. The alleged insight is: this is enough to keep memory usage reasonably bounded.

The funny part would APPEAR to be that this was added to the kernel in the past decade.

Personally, I'd never get caught by this because it's criminally negligent to use linked lists to resolve collisions, and the memory usage is only statistically bounded, which is not really good enough.

Re:This is Sad! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901450)

Actually, prior art only refers to prior patents (why wouldn't you have patented it, if you really invented it??) and in any case, the new rule is "first to file", not "first to invent", so prior art will no longer even have zero relevance.

I am very sure no one has file a patent for cooking food with fire. So that is patentable under the, "not first to invent, but first to file" rule?

How can you patent a linked list? (2)

king_grumpy (1685560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901124)

Time to file my patent for "an array for storing values populated by user input" .

Re:How can you patent a linked list? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901238)

If you can make one that automatically garbage-collects itself while ensuring that the types inserted are correct and array bounds are extended whenever space warrants, then you might have something. (although I'm pretty sure I did that predictive bounds extension thing in about 1987 so watch your step).

Re:How can you patent a linked list? (1)

king_grumpy (1685560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901286)

(although I'm pretty sure I did that predictive bounds extension thing in about 1987 so watch your step).

Sounds like East-Texas doesn't recognize prior art, so I should be fine ;)

Re:How can you patent a linked list? (1, Funny)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901362)

Your patent would infringe on my patent for "methods of storing and retrieving information encoded using one or more symbols and arranged in a sequential order, as well as methods for enabling the access of that information out of order."

Don't even think about filing your patent, because I also have a patent for "1) methods and apparatus for generating potential courses of action based on evaluation of potential conceptual possibilities, 2) methods and algorithms for evaluating said conceptual possibilities, and 3) apparatus for creating said conceptual possibilities".

Not in this jurisdiction (1)

00_NOP (559413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901142)

Guess you are going to have to move to Europe.

There is one way to end a patent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901150)

Kill everyone who can claim ownership of it.

Re:There is one way to end a patent (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901258)

If you think patent law is unsettling, wait until you see Probate law.

Kill everyone who owns something, and it becomes property of their relatives, or their creditors, or the state, based on a table of primacy that would make your average FPU blow chunks.

Gunfight at the Software Patent Corral (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901174)

This could be a great software patent showdown. I'm always hoping. I want to see federal circuit court address the software patent issue squarely. The earlier poster was right about Groklaw.

Makes me wonder... (0)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901234)

Why hasn't anyone turned East Texas into a glass desert already? Fuck them, they're terrorists.

GOOGLE FUCKS LINUX IN THE ASS AGAIN !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901270)

This doesn't just sting, it's gonna give MS a hell of a lot of ammo to lob.

FIRE IN THE HOLE !!

And that's not just figurative !!

Obvious counter action (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901282)

Google should just buy Hanna-Barbara and get the rights to Bedrock (and Fred and Wilma and Barney etc. The would also have the patents for Fire, the Wheel and using Dinosaurs as tools...

Do patent trolls fund terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901368)

Shadowy, faceless patent holding companies who produce nothing other than lawsuits. Who owns them? See, if I were funding terrorism, this would be ideal. Swoop in there, buy up some weird patents regardless of their merit, sue a bunch of companies, destroying American jobs, wrecking our once mighty economy, and then use the money to buy bombs to kill the good Christian, American children. Yet politicians on both sides of the aisle want to make it easier for terrorists to kill your children.

I don't know why, but when I read this I thought.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901390)

"The Ministry has fallen. The Minister of Magic is Dead. They are Coming."

Patent? This technique has been done since 1987 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901424)

The UniVerse database as well as Prime Information were using this type of structure since the late 1980s. UniVerse has a "Dynamic" file that uses hashing to store data with an extended structure to store data that does not fit in the primary block.

Furthermore, when additional space is required, a block restructure is performed, (the database compresses the blocks before requesting additional space i.e. garbage collect).

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