with the Vampire: Company claims ownership over downloadable video|
This is a satirical
article with a fictitious conversation with the Lead Attorney of
a fictitious company called National Video Interactive that has
a patent claim concerning their extension of their patent to claim
ownership to the idea of downloading videos from a web server.
Mr. Lead Attorney.
[interrupting FightThePatent], please, call me Lead, Mr. Attorney
is my father.
Ok, Lead, I understand that your company has a patent that was filed
in 1990 and approved in 1991 with the title 'Store and Forward Perpetual
Motion Video System'. With the filing of your lawsuit against www.download-movies-for-a-fee-from-major-movie-studios.com,
I assume that you feel your patent is being infringed by their service
that allows people to pay for a download of a movie file?
Do you believe that your patent covers the concept of downloading
a video file from a web server for playback on a pc (whether you
paid for it or not) ?
Oh, that's pretty broad isn't it? If you did have a patent that
covered that, you could get licensing fees from any website that
had video to download and you guys would be bazillionaires?
You don't talk much to you?
Would CNN's use of videos on their website be considered an infringement?
If a church website has a video clip of the pastor's Sunday sermon,
would that be considered an infringement?
[looking perplexed] If I had a video clip on my personal homepage
of my puppy, would that be considered an infringement?
Whoa! That's severe.
According to patent law, the end user can infringe upon a patent
even if they have purchased or used third party software.
So you mean if I purchased a Real Media server and used it to stream
videos of my puppy, I am in violation of infringing your patent?
Yes, and we could take action against Real Media, Microsoft, and
other companies, but why bite the hand that feeds you? Let them
continue to sell and offer their services, we'll just target the
individual websites that use their technology that serves up the
patent infringement. You don't have to have Real Media server to
be infringing on our patent. A link to the file that is sent via
the web server to the person's computer is infringing our patent..
Wow, you say more than one word and you let loose a whole paragraph.
But what if I didnt use a streaming server, I just put up an AVI
or MPEG file of my puppy?
You are infringing on our patent.
But wait a minute, I thought that your patent consisted of technology
that the inventors created, and even tested it in a trials. Your
technology isn't being used at all in my example of downloading
a video clip of my puppy.
Doesn't matter if our technology is being used, the process of downloading
a video file from one place to another is what we patented.
But I thought that patents were supposed to be more tangible as
an invention that provided specific functionality.
I don't know where you got your Patent Law degree, but I got mine
from Francis University Patent Law School (F.U. Law), so I know
what I am talking about. We have the patent to a PROCESS. Our patent
doesn't mention any specific electronic devices or apparatus to
make the concept work.
F.U. Patent Law, ya, I heard about them. I think one of your alumni
tried to patent Air, but got rejected due to some minor technicality
of Air already existing prior to his patent application, something
about prior art mumbo-jumbo. Do you have a hardware/software solution
that you can sell as a product today that represents the concepts
described in the patent and the original invention?
Advances in technology by Real Networks and Microsoft on the Internet
side, and Video on Demand companies on the broadcast side, have outpaced
the original invention. We seek to generate revenue by licensing the
idea of our patent, rather than the actual invention. Companies who
developed technology simply stole our patented idea and for that,
we are entitled to retribution.
So why don't you sue Real and Microsoft for developing and profiting
from the illegal use of your patent?
I already answer that. We are entitled to stop people from using
our patent. We can make a lot more money by requiring a huge number
of smaller websites to license our patent, then to just have a handful
of companies that provide the technology to license our patent.
Why make millions when you can make bazillions?
Can you cite one company that is able to charge a "licensing fee"
to a website to use a concept of an idea, when a software/hardware
piece was not purchased?
Um, GIF images?
Nope, Unisys had the patent for the GIF file format, but licensed
the format to graphic programs. It's pronounced "Jiff"
not like "Gift" without the "t", by the way.
Nope, software that encodes and decodes MP3 files pay a licensing
fee to use the MP3 codec. Websites that offer downloads of MP3 files
are not infringing.
I can't think of any, that's why this case will be groundbreaking!
[Lead gets a little red and excited in the cheeks at the prospect
of global ownership of video downloads].
Well, there is Acacia Research, they seem to have licensed their
"technology" and patents to some companies.
We are aware of their efforts.
So why didn't you bring them up?
We don't want to have our name used in the same sentence as them.
Our patent is different, we had technology, Acacia never did.
Moving on, What about all the Internet development that occurred
prior to the web coming out, and prior to the 1990 filing date?
Have you researched the history and development of the Internet?
I have done some Google searches and read some articles.
Do you know who Vint Cerf is?
WTF?!??!? You don't know who Vint Cerf is????
Many Internet Historians regard him as the "Father of the Internet"
and is certainly among a very esteemed group of people who developed
the original ARPANET that evolved to the modern day Internet. The
reason I bring this up, is maybe you havent done enough historical
research about possible prior art. You must just be looking into
previous patents for your research?
No, we use google and other sources
And you never came across Vint Cerf?
No and I don't understand his importance or relevance of him to
Never mind. Let's now look at the actual patent:The inventors came
up with an idea that was far ahead of their time. Much like Arthur
C. Clarke's article that described satellites in 1945, ideas of
the future were further ahead than technology. It was considered
Around the time
frame of 1990 when the inventors were creating their invention,
ISDN was touted as the next generation voice and data network. With
leap frogs to digital, fiber optics would not be that far away.
The inventors probably thought ahead to a situation where fiber
optics would be run to all homes, thus creating the wide pipe to
the home to handle the video transfer. ISDN never got implemented
to the masses as everyone thought, and Fiber Optics to every home
is still sci-fi.From your patent:
and usefulness of the system described above depends in large part
on the ability to be able to quickly down load a video program to
the receiving unit 16. In order to illustrate the convenience of
the system described above, an example illustrating the numbers
involved will now be described. "
2.3 gigabytes are required for a compressed program, and that a
50% overhead is required for serial transmission of the program
data, for error correcting code, blocking, and the like, 3.45 gigabytes
of serial data must be transmitted between the central data facility
10 and the receiving unit 16. At eight bits per byte, this results
in 27.6 gigabits to be transferred. Optical fiber connections currently
planned for installation to residential customers will have a maximum
data transfer rate of 144 megabits per second. At this rate, the
required 27.6 gigabits can be transferred to the receiving unit
16 in 192 seconds, which is just over three minutes. Thus, approximately
three minutes is required to transfer a typical video program to
the receiving unit 16. "
You are claiming
that a website like www.download-movies-for-a-fee-from-major-movie-studios.cominfringes
upon your patent because they offer "pay per view" downloads
claims the average download is about 80 minutes (assuming broadband
3 minutes from
the patented "invention" vs. 80 minutes for the download
doesn't seem like the same thing. If www.download-movies-for-a-fee-from-major-movie-studios.comwere
infringing the patent, wouldn't the downloads be like 3 minutes??
Most people don't have fiber optics to their home. The only way
to achieve this kind of download is through Fiber. Our patent describes
the PROCESS of downloading a video file FASTER THAN REAL TIME. So
if a 90 minute movie takes 80 minutes to download, I would say that
is FASTER than real time, wouldn't you?
Um, sure. And downloading a 90 minute video in 89 minutes is still
faster than real time. If the whole point of the patent is to provide
technology that enables the fast transfer of video (over fiber optics)
, how does that apply to a website and transferring the video over
This interview is over. We are not arguing our case before the Public
Court, but rather a Court of Law, thank you for your concern over
the issue, but we feel confident that our patent will prevail.
And there you have it. If National Video Interactive is successful
in their lawsuit, they could literally suck the blood from a website's
veins as a licensing fee for the use of their "patent".
Sounds a lot like some other patent [cough] abuse [/cough] case
we have been covering.
about USA Video and their patent claims to owning the process of
downloading video from a (web) server