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Old 11-25-2012, 12:14 AM   #41
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We should not forget Borland's Sidekick product for MS-DOS 3.0, a working product that, while it did not use a mouse, certainly had a lot of elements in it that were seen again when the first Mac and Windows OSes were making their debut. At the time, it's special trick was that it was a TSR program (Terminate and Stay Resident) to do Personal Information Management things.

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Old 11-25-2012, 12:37 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Lain (is Bams) View Post
What kind of shit is that? It's ok that Steve Jobs is a big fat liar pants and ripped off the Xerox/PARC GUI because they didn't sue his ass off? I disagree.
Did I say that?

No, I didn't say that.

You are welcome to disagree with stuff I didn't say, of course. And neither have I even weighed in on the ethics of the matter. However, all your ranty words aside, it really *is* - in the business world - completely up to a company like Xerox to decide whether to seek legal recourse or not. Can you tell me, as I don't know the answer: did they pursue legal action against either Jobs/Apple or Gates/Microsoft?
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:47 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Govi View Post
Had I been a patent examiner at the time...
Govi's post brings up a very salient, and historical point: you maybe needed to be there.

By that I mean that the technological times, vis a vis the computer world, in the 70's and 80's was a very heady time. There was a buttload of innovation going on, and it took a good while for things to boil down to the main players. Software was wide open, lots more hardware (in general) for doing your own building, lots of start-up ideas floating around. No one really knew where it would all land, and who the winners would be.

In hindsight, you see Microsoft and Apple emerging as the mainstream players, and the *nix/opensource people having some part of the scene today. But back then, it was far from a given as to what would shake out, and someone like Jobs (or anyone else for that matter) implementing an idea that someone else was also doing? It didn't just happen, but the important point was that not many people, at that time, could realize the impact of it all.

Yes, NOW it seems mind-boggling that someone would borrow an idea only to have it turn into some de facto standard, but it took many years for that to become as dominant a theme as it is now. It was pretty fun, having all those various platforms, OS's, competing software...

<sigh> I've neglected cleaning the garage for a long time, and I'm ramping up to do more teaching, and have to make room for another drum kit, etc. In going through the boxes that were Way Up There on the shelves, I was putting in the recycle bin old stuff like Borland C, Turbo Pascal, an early MS Office bundle. Shit, software from 25 years ago or so. I'd look at some of the manuals that would have me tearing my hair out back then, trying to go one step beyond what they wanted to let me program, and I'd think "I am SO glad to be putting you in the ground... or the shredder!"
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:03 AM   #44
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Let's not downplay the *nix crowd too much, your communications network is reliant upon that group of people.

It sounds as if you're saying that because it was so chaotic that it was ok, or somehow excuses someone stealing someone else's intellectual concepts and ideas and making them their own.

The concept of OpenSource is that no one can do that. Everyone has to share the additions they make to the project so that the entire project benefits. Gates and Jobs took concepts that were open and closed them off to the public, which netted them millions of dollars in the process and made their products the defacto standard because they the connections/money/gaul to make it that way.

While it seems like we all benefited from this type of action, a handful of us benefited quite a bit more than the rest, didn't they? And isn't that pretty anti-American? To jack someone's creative work and represent it as your own, then rape it for every dollar you can get before you kick-off, giving everyone the finger?

Look what it's brought us to. Someone patenting the 'page turn'. What's next? Patenting the power button? Or how about, 'hey we invented concept of using electricity to charge our devices, pay us biotch!'?

It seems like we get farther when people are sharing ideas, and using open concepts. Apple and Microsoft have done quite a bit to crush that very movement, and it's damaging to the overall technology landscape. They should both knock it off immediately.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:08 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Envoy Costagravas View Post
Did I say that?

No, I didn't say that.

You are welcome to disagree with stuff I didn't say, of course. And neither have I even weighed in on the ethics of the matter. However, all your ranty words aside, it really *is* - in the business world - completely up to a company like Xerox to decide whether to seek legal recourse or not. Can you tell me, as I don't know the answer: did they pursue legal action against either Jobs/Apple or Gates/Microsoft?
Yes. Xerox sued Apple.
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/15/bu...copyright.html

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The Xerox Corporation filed suit here today against Apple Computer Inc., accusing it of unlawfully using Xerox copyrights in its Macintosh and Lisa computers.

Xerox's suit, which was filed in Federal District Court, charges Apple with copyright misrepresentation and seeks more than $150 million in royalties and damages.

Xerox contends that the Lisa and Macintosh software stems from work originally done by Xerox scientists and that it was used by Apple without permission.

Xerox's own personal computers were not commercially successful, and for many years the company made no attempt to uphold the copyrights on its graphical interface software. Such software allows a user to select programs and instruct the computer by pointing at symbols on the screen rather than typing in commands.

Apple copyrighted the distinctive ''look and feel'' of the Macintosh graphical user interface and has been quick to sue companies it believes have infringed on it. Apple has suits pending against the Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash., and the Hewlett-Packard Company of Palo Alto, Calif., contending that their software products infringe on the Macintosh copyright. Ideas and Expressions
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:13 AM   #46
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Xerox's own personal computers were not commercially successful, and for many years the company made no attempt to uphold the copyrights on its graphical interface software.
Snooze = Lose.

ETA: I just took some quick looks at Wiki infos on Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft all revolving around patents and lawsuits. Man. I'm way too tired to get deep into all that, but that is a massive situation back then, wild times.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:15 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Envoy Costagravas View Post
Snooze = Lose.
Just because something's legal doesn't make it right.

My overall point stands. Regardless of it's misappropriation of the GUI, and it's ridiculous claim to the patent, they've stolen and appropriated countless other technologies over the years (as has Microsoft).
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:37 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Lain (is Bams) View Post
Let's not downplay the *nix crowd too much, your communications network is reliant upon that group of people.

It sounds as if you're saying that because it was so chaotic that it was ok, or somehow excuses someone stealing someone else's intellectual concepts and ideas and making them their own.

The concept of OpenSource is that no one can do that. Everyone has to share the additions they make to the project so that the entire project benefits. Gates and Jobs took concepts that were open and closed them off to the public, which netted them millions of dollars in the process and made their products the defacto standard because they the connections/money/gaul to make it that way.

While it seems like we all benefited from this type of action, a handful of us benefited quite a bit more than the rest, didn't they? And isn't that pretty anti-American? To jack someone's creative work and represent it as your own, then rape it for every dollar you can get before you kick-off, giving everyone the finger?

Look what it's brought us to. Someone patenting the 'page turn'. What's next? Patenting the power button? Or how about, 'hey we invented concept of using electricity to charge our devices, pay us biotch!'?

It seems like we get farther when people are sharing ideas, and using open concepts. Apple and Microsoft have done quite a bit to crush that very movement, and it's damaging to the overall technology landscape. They should both knock it off immediately.
Fuckfuckfuck.

I had a multi-quote reply with all kinds of good stuff, and I tried to go to an outside link and closed the window. I'm sorry, I am just exhausted, too many hours at the hospital. Interesting stuff, but I read some of the earliest writings of John Perry Barlow, used to be on The Well, and remember the founding of the EFF. None of this is really new to me, nor is it surprising.

Business is a cut-throat world. The *only* thing I am happy for is a big difference between Jobs and Gates: Jobs enriched himself; Gates has done that as well, but he has also turned, somewhat surprisingly, into one of the most impactful philanthropists of recent generations. I'm not sure what that means to me, but I know that it has meant saving many lives around the globe.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:39 AM   #49
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Just because something's legal doesn't make it right.
No, it just makes it legal. The reason things take place in a court of law is because what you think is right and what the next person thinks is right may very well not be the same.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:40 AM   #50
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Yes, Gates has done much good with the money he has taken. I can't bash him for that. It does play into his whole 'god complex', imho. But sometimes it doesn't matter how things are getting done as long as they're getting done.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:40 AM   #51
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Good night. I hope I don't dream of mouse cursors and Close widgets...
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:45 AM   #52
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No, it just makes it legal. The reason things take place in a court of law is because what you think is right and what the next person thinks is right may very well not be the same.
You don't need a court to decide that stealing someone's ideas and concepts is wrong. At least, you shouldn't need a court, etc.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:59 AM   #53
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Before Windows, there was the theft of CP/M technology by Microsoft. MS-DOS was copied from CP/M. There was also a lot of questionable maneuvering by Gates in concluding his deal with the PC development group (the first IBM-PC), which both eliminated CP/M from the running and supplied IBM with essentially CP/M re-written by Microsoft. No suits resulted, but it was a questionable bit of business.

Everybody's technology was commonly open to everyone else. If someone in an office bought a copy of Lotus 1-2-3, quickly, it would be copied and any password or copy security openly beaten by everyone in the office that had a desire for a copy. It was several years after IBM's PC introduction that the IT (basically programming for billing and payroll at the time) people and the legal people decided to start making sure that everyone had legal purchased copies. Software patents had not yet been granted, only copyrights, I believe.

One more point: I was happy that Microsoft had rewritten CP/M. It was much better documented by Microsoft than CP/M's creator had done. Good user support was a key differentiating element, and Microsoft was whiz-bang at creating manuals that could be used, in marked contrast to their competitors. I remember thinking, as I browsed through my newly purchased MS-DOS 3.0 manual that here was decent work, work that I could use, work that respected the user and supplied us with the information we needed clearly and effectively.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:47 AM   #54
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It's like pointing out a crook among thieves, really. (o.o)
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:30 AM   #55
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Can't argue with that.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:50 AM   #56
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I don't feel like arguing this because I don't have the time or energy right now (the move has been very hard and the unpacking is even harder) and I get the impression that no one has any intention of letting any information change there mind regardless of fact.

I'll just make a couple of points here and leave you to your fun.

Govi, give me some credit. I wasn't saying PARC was a small company. I ment they were a small player in the personal computer industry. In fact they weren't even a player. Small computers weren't even on their radar.

Bams, I'm not an Apple fanboi. I like Apple products but I recognize their strengths AND weaknesses. I'm not a Steve Jobs worshiper. Steven was an asshole almost his entire life. Even to Wozniak at times. He also happened to be a brilliant design and product visionary. No one is all good or all bad. I wouldn't expect you to like him though since he was a strong believer in closed systems which is against everything you believe in.

Govi, the only information I have on hand without researching is Steve Job's biography. It's not autobiographical and Isacson is a reputable writer but I'd still like to have something better. But my understanding is Steve paid for a visit to PARC where he saw the GUI and there were arguments over what he saw and cout use, but nothing was "stolen."

Envoy, I wish dearly Amiga had won as I would have loved for THEM to be the leader of personal computers. Much better computer in its day
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #57
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In 1984-6, the only big player in the computer industry was IBM whose tremendous success with the PC was so lucrative that it enticed many many companies into producing their own PCs, which was enabled by the open architecture of the PC. Apple was quickly becoming an also-ran rather than a key player. Jobs was a visionary in that he essentially bet the company on the success of the Macintosh.

Your description of Jobs' visit to PARC sounds like stealing to me. Xerox thought so, too, but one of the things required in patent law is that you defend your patent or copyright. If you don't, if you knowingly let others use your idea without compensation, that tacit permission causes you to lose some or all of your rights. Xerox didn't really know what it had, didn't know how to exploit it, and certainly defended its copyright too late. But just because Xerox shouted "Hey!" at the thief too long after the theft does not make it less of a theft.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:50 PM   #58
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In 1984-6, the only big players in the computer industry were Sinclair Research, Acorn, and Commodore International
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #59
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But those included the business market, which was obviously heavily into IBM-PC products. The home market was quite different, though that changed towards PC, just later, and without the IBM imprimatur, because IBM charged too damn much, always.

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Old 11-25-2012, 01:41 PM   #60
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A side note: our second computer was made by Leading Edge Intel 486 machine (see the pie chart for 1985) bought at Fry's Electronics with a Christmas bonus.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:46 PM   #61
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And a further note -- it should be perfectly obvious, but I'll say it for Johnny: that the only computer player in 1985 that is still around is Apple, which due to Jobs' leadership is bigger than any of its modern competitors, though not because of Mac sales.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:12 PM   #62
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I won't argue but Jobs was absent for most of the 90s (and they had crap computers during that time)
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:22 PM   #63
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Scully saved Apple from Jobs' disagreements with his Board, then made some doozy mistakes of his own, which almost ruined Apple, which correctly panicked the Board of Directors who wisely -- as it turned out -- rehired Jobs.

Living around Apple in Silicon Valley during that period was like living next to an almost successful gambler, one who's slowly bleeding money away, whose family is moving from wearing nice new clothes to patched 5 year old clothes that are more than a little threadbare. Then, he finds his "God" (Jobs, who was off learning better how to get things done without totally pissing off everyone) and stops gambling, starts tending the farm again.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:04 PM   #64
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We should not forget Borland's Sidekick product for MS-DOS 3.0, a working product that, while it did not use a mouse, certainly had a lot of elements in it that were seen again when the first Mac and Windows OSes were making their debut. At the time, it's special trick was that it was a TSR program (Terminate and Stay Resident) to do Personal Information Management things.
Wow, what a flashback. I LOVED Sidekick and developed a work tracking/management/communication system for the small company I worked for centered on it. We kept that system all through it becoming a Windows product until it was killed and we shifted to MS Office and Outlook/Exchange.

Misty water colored memories...
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:41 PM   #65
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Scully saved Apple from Jobs' disagreements with his Board, then made some doozy mistakes of his own, which almost ruined Apple, which correctly panicked the Board of Directors who wisely -- as it turned out -- rehired Jobs.

Living around Apple in Silicon Valley during that period was like living next to an almost successful gambler, one who's slowly bleeding money away, whose family is moving from wearing nice new clothes to patched 5 year old clothes that are more than a little threadbare. Then, he finds his "God" (Jobs, who was off learning better how to get things done without totally pissing off everyone) and stops gambling, starts tending the farm again.
All very true and an excellent description.

Steve built Apple, almost destroyed it and later saved it and built it into the most valuable company in the US (semantics I know but it's the words the business world uses) and then died.

It's yet to be seen but that last part and leaving it in the hands of Tim Cook and IMO more importantly Johnny Ives may be one of his better moves
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:42 PM   #66
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Wow, what a flashback. I LOVED Sidekick and developed a work tracking/management/communication system for the small company I worked for centered on it. We kept that system all through it becoming a Windows product until it was killed and we shifted to MS Office and Outlook/Exchange.

Misty water colored memories...
VisiCalc and VisaDex are my big memories
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:01 AM   #67
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Ok, not very satisfying or all that informative but here is something

The truth about Steve Jobs and Xerox PARC
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:11 AM   #68
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The right thing for Jobs to do after that would have been to buy the rights to what he'd learned. "Taking candy from a baby" is certainly easy, but it's not moral.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:07 PM   #69
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Welcome to the world of American business.

I don't argue with you but it would be very uncommon for any business leader to do that
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:17 PM   #70
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Don't be silly. Proper behavior exists all the time. I have participated in such things. Jobs may have signed an NDA; if he didn't, shame on Xerox. If he did, then Xerox was extremely bad at protecting their IP.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:45 PM   #71
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I'm not defending his morals. What he did was ethically wrong. Just not illegal
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:44 PM   #72
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What kind of shit is that? It's ok that Steve Jobs is a big fat liar pants and ripped off the Xerox/PARC GUI because they didn't sue his ass off? I disagree.

And, that doesn't even come close to making a case for the untold number of NOT so huge corporations and/or individuals he nabbed ideas from to incorporate into his devices/software (yes Gates did it too).

Seems to me as if it was some sort of super-powerful, rich-guy tech mogul one-up type competition. I can steal more shit than you can and get away with it.

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Had I been a patent examiner at the time of PARC's invention of its GUI, then Apple's & Microsoft's appropriations, if any patents issued to any of them, I would certainly consider whether there was any grounds to establish uniqueness and inspiration, because companies like Computervision were around who had graphical user interfaces embedded in their CAD (Computer Aided Design) products. How much of a leap is it to go from the GUI of such a product to the GUI of the first Mac OS and Windows 1.0? Not much, in my estimation. And certainly not much in view of SRI's work led by Engelbart, 20 years before Microsoft and Apple launched their GUI products.
You guys are missing three very big important (if admittedly new) parts of the patent system.

Part-That-You're-Missing 1: Patents are cheap - they cost $125 (unless you want to file via paper, which costs an extra $200), so any "company" that has the resources to do something like invent a GUI can certainly apply for one; and even if you don't pay the once-every-three-years maintenance fee (which forfeits your exclusive right-to-sell), nobody will ever be able to patent your thing and gain exclusive rights for themselves after you've already patented it.

Part-That-You're-Missing 2: Last year, the law changed from first-to-invent, which required research and could lead to extensive court battles between multiple filers, to first-to-file, which is A) the worldwide standard and B) eliminates those chances of extensive (and expensive) court battles, because first-come-first-served, period.

Part-That-You're-Missing 3: Design patents' actual active legal rights only last 14 years. Meaning that whatever protection Apple's and Microsoft's patents gave them vis-a-vis the original Mac OS and Windows 1.0 doesn't exist anymore. They can still frame these old, old patents of course, but they don't bestow anything now.

No, the patent game is no longer a richest-man-wins game, and there exists no method at all by which a huge mega-corporation like Microsoft can prevent some guy in a basement from patenting a new GUI as long as he files first; no actual way on Earth. In fact, the only kind of challenge that's even available for them to make is a challenge of the GUI's patentability - which, if successful, wouldn't even win them the patent instead but would only make the idea unpatentable by anyone...and such challenges aren't like court cases where Microsoft with its army of big fancy lawyers can "make a case" or "provide evidence"; all it is is a re-examination of the same patent by a different examiner, using the same rules as the first one.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:28 PM   #73
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Part-that-Dakota-is-missing 1: That's the patent filing fee. Routinely, companies that are filing patents on behalf of themselves and employees who did the actual inventing have to budget a significant piece of change for each patent. An individual can get away without that, but if she or he is unfamiliar with patents, that inventor will put in a large number of hours getting the thing right, researching prior art, overcoming the examiner's objections, etc. If that poor inventor comes up with a patent that is later contested in the courts, the amount required to defend the patent can become very large.

Part-that-Dakota-is-missing 2: The filing rule is to comply with international patent treaties. However, the filing rule did not exist for the original GUI invented by PARC; the filing rule been put into effect only in the last decade.

Part-that-Dakota-is-missing 3: No one is talking about the present. We're talking about then, the mid-'80s. When the events in question took place.

Please keep up.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:49 PM   #74
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Oops, had two threads open and posted in the wrong one.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:51 PM   #75
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Part-that-Dakota-is-missing 1: That's the patent filing fee. Routinely, companies that are filing patents on behalf of themselves and employees who did the actual inventing have to budget a significant piece of change for each patent. An individual can get away without that, but if she or he is unfamiliar with patents, that inventor will put in a large number of hours getting the thing right, researching prior art, overcoming the examiner's objections, etc. If that poor inventor comes up with a patent that is later contested in the courts, the amount required to defend the patent can become very large.

Part-that-Dakota-is-missing 2: The filing rule is to comply with international patent treaties. However, the filing rule did not exist for the original GUI invented by PARC; the filing rule been put into effect only in the last decade.

Part-that-Dakota-is-missing 3: No one is talking about the present. We're talking about then, the mid-'80s. When the events in question took place.

Please keep up.
The patents can't be contested in the courts anymore; it's first-to-file regardless of anything else, so that's pretty much fixed.

As for....the past? Meh. It was Xerox, who were like as big as IBM way back in the way back. A megacorp. If they neglect to patent their stuff *shrug*, why the heck should I feel sorry for them - just cuz Microsoft's the ones that "ripped them off"? Pssht. They had the lawyers, they had the money, they had the size and clout. They shoulda been watching their stuff better.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:00 PM   #76
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Goddess in Her heaven, you display each of the twelve years you claim (I think it's twelve, but your arrogance-from-ignorance or is it ignorance-from-arrogance makes twelve about right) in this wild and broad claim: "The patents can't be contested in the courts anymore; it's first-to-file regardless of anything else, so that's pretty much fixed." Most patent battles are not over who has the right to patent, but on such things as whether there has been infringement or even whether the patent should have been granted at all.

A company I worked for had won its first round in federal court: that their competitor's patent was invalid. But when the opposing company appealed, the appellate court ruled that their patent was valid and that we were infringing. This kind of thing is typical; not often is the battle over who invented first. And first filing eliminates that small percentage of patent disputes and certainly lightens up the load on inventors documenting their work prior to filing.

And it was Apple -- not Microsoft -- who ripped off Xerox according to Xerox. It was Apple that accused Microsoft of ripping off Apple. If you don't know the history of this -- you're only twelve, after all -- you can at least keep up with the thread when posting.

Last edited by Govi; 11-27-2012 at 09:26 PM. Reason: left out an important adjective!
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:44 PM   #77
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I'm not defending his morals. What he did was ethically wrong. Just not illegal
I'm not ok with it being LEGAL to be unethical. theft is theft, and that's the overall point.

If someone showed up today with something YOU invented, but didn't think was important enough to patent X number of years ago, you'd be pretty upset they took YOUR idea and turned it into money. Especially if it's pretty much concept for concept.

Apple's claim to have made significant changes to PARC's concept is patently false. Just because someone greased enough palms to push it through a court, doesn't change the fact that Apple was built by a thief and a liar who didn't even have the common decency to give back to the very thing he claimed was important.

Philanthropist my ass. Greed is greed. Sticking it into a turtle neck and tossing a smile at the crowd doesn't change what it is. It's just too bad there's so many stupid sheep that are willing to continue supporting corporations that continue to act in a way that's contrary to this country's well-being.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:23 PM   #78
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Hams, you aren't arguing with me. I made no value judgement. I just said he didn't do anything illegal. I didn't say what he did was ethical or right, just that it wasn't illegal
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:30 PM   #79
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I'm not defending his morals. What he did was ethically wrong. Just not illegal
(rant ON)

Which is why, in that wonderful fluffy-cloud-filled-land that is the empire of Vinsonia, Gates, Jobs, and their ilk are acknowledged as "great" (note the ironic quotation marks) business men, but not as computer visionaries. Either of them would have been just as financially successful by applying the same (ethically wrong) principles they used at Microsoft and Apple, to the task of selling toasters.

In the far-away realm of Vinsonia, "Coco's Cottages" (may it RIP) is regarded with far more respect than Microsoft, because the former was based on wealth *creation* (via the now archaic principle of delivering a good or service which was developed as a source of pride to its creator), whereas the latter is based on wealth *transfer* (via anti-competitive practices and other assorted douche-baggery).

(rant OFF)
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:35 PM   #80
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Hams, you aren't arguing with me.
Bams, I'm sure it was a mistake, pleeeaaaaassssseeeeee don't kill Johnny!!!!!!!

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