AT&T patents spam obfusaction tech

News.com reports: AT&T patents anti-antispam technology. Shouldn’t the double negatives cancel out and the headline read “AT&T patents spam technology?”
The patent describes a system and method for counteracting message filtering:

A system and method for circumventing schemes that use duplication detection to detect and block unsolicited e-mail (spam.) An address on a list is assigned to one of m sublists, where m is an integer that is greater than one. A set of m different messages are created. A different message from the set of m different messages is sent to the addresses on each sublist. In this way, spam countermeasures based upon duplicate detection schemes are foiled.

Streaming Patent Suit to Go Forward

News.com: Patent ruling tugs at Net downloads

Last Thursday, a federal judge in the Western District Court of Pennsylvania granted SightSound’s motion for summary judgment against Bertelsmann’s divisions, paving the road for the 5-year dispute to go to jury trial. The court also dismissed Bertelsmann’s request to avoid trial, which was based on the assertion that SightSound had not filed the proper information with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The patents in question are 5,191,573, a method for transmitting a desired digital video or audio signal, and 5,675,734, a system for transmitting desired digital video or audio signals

Don’t plant, those seeds are patented

NY Times: Saving Seeds Subjects Farmers to Suits Over Patent

In 1998, Mr. McFarling bought 1,000 bags of genetically altered soybean seeds, and he did what he had always done. But the seeds, called Roundup Ready, are patented. When Monsanto, which holds the patent, learned what Mr. McFarling had sown, it sued him in federal court in St. Louis for patent infringement and was awarded $780,000.
The company calls the planting of saved seed piracy, and it says it has won millions of dollars from farmers in lawsuits and settlements in such cases. Mr. McFarling’s is the first to reach a federal appeals court, which will consider how the law should reconcile patented food with a practice as old as farming itself.

Are shrinkwrap licenses for seed packages enforceable? How much of a limited monopoly should be granted to holders of patents on seeds? To what extent should companies like Monsanto be able to control the way their patented seeds are used?

FTC suggests improving patent law policy

The Federal Trade Commission released a report on How to Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy. Among the ten FTC recommendations:

  • Create a new administrative procedure that will make it easier for firms to challenge a patent’s validity at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), without having to raise an expensive and time-consuming federal court challenge
  • Allow courts to find patents invalid based on the preponderance of the evidence, without having to find that clear and convincing evidence compels that result
  • Limit the award of treble damages for willful patent infringement.