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    I can’t imagine how this won’t go on forever, as long as the worst that can happen to a patent troll is them wasting their time. The law needs to define the term “patent troll” and you should be able to sue someone on that claim and if they’re found guilty, the consequences should make sure that they won’t go anywhere near the patent office for the rest of their lives.

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      … or, for as long as intellectual property - beyond the right to be identified as the creator of a work - continues.

      To quote Jefferson,

      If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

      Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it.

      He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

      That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

      Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

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      While I agree a lot with the sentiment, this blog is probably a bad idea. It’s really weird that someone who works in embedded systems would write this:

      Dynamic ram? Can I poke fun at them for not knowing what RAM is? Yes I can.

      And then go on to talk about malloc - the author is talking at a completely different abstraction layer to the patent. The authors of the patent do know what RAM is and they know that SRAM and DRAM (static RAM and dynamic RAM) are families of technologies used to implement it. They are claiming novelty in storing hardware state in some generic RAM, rather than encoded in fixed-function units or in registers (flip-flops) that are tightly coupled with particular pipelines.

      Whether that would actually pass the novelty threshold is a different question (it’s East Texas, so the bar is notoriously low) but misrepresenting what a patent is claiming, in public, while being sued for infringing the patent, is really not a good look. Secondly, complaining that the patent was not written by an embedded systems engineer (obviously. It’s a patent. It was written by a patent attorney) while simultaneously claiming to be an embedded systems engineer and misrepresenting the patent is exactly the kind of thing that can be introduced in court to undermine your credibility.

      If you they wanted to look at, for example, the STANTEC ZEBRA (circa 1961) as prior art for this kind of reconfigurable system and point out that in 1998 (when the patent was filed) this kind of technology was pretty well established, I’d be quite sympathetic. The ZEBRA had a data-flow processor and used data stored in RAM to reconfigure the pipeline. There is some relative novelty in the patent (for example, the multiple independent streams) but you’d expect a little bit of progress to be made in 40 years and you want to establish that someone skilled in the art would find everything in the patent obvious, which is a bit easier if you can show that some of the core ideas are decades old. If you look at programmable dataflow DSPs (of which there were many in the ’90s) you can almost certainly find more direclty relevant prior art.

      Note that in patents it’s the combination of claims that matters. If you patented a new kind of screw, then the patent would describe the screwhead but would also need to include a description of what a screw is. Pointing at those claims and saying ‘all screws have threads, this isn’t novel!’ is no help.

      Oh, and:

      Patent 6289434 was written in 1998 and granted in 2001. I’ll start by pointing out that patents are valid for 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed, so 2018, but I’m no patent attorney

      That’s why they’re suing you over a device you shipped in 2016, back when the patent was still in-date (whether it was valid is a totally different question).