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Stupid Patents of the Month: Taxi Dispatch Tech

eff.org - Sat, 29/04/2017 - 03:33

With all the attention ride-sharing has been getting lately, some might think Uber and Lyft were highly inventive apps. But according to at least one company, the apps are just highly infringing. Who’s right? Probably neither.

Hailo Technologies, LLC (“Hailo”) has recently sued both Uber and Lyft, alleging they infringed Hailo’s taxi dispatch patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,973,619 (“the ’619 patent”). The patent claims a method for a “computer system” that: (1) displays a list of transportation options; (2) asks the customer for a number of passengers; (3) shows destinations graphically; (4) displays the approximate fare; (5) calls a selected taxi company up for a ride; and (6) gives an estimated arrival time.  A few months ago, Hailo also sued a few other companies for infringing a different patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,756,913 (“the ’913 patent”), which claims a method for keeping track of available taxis on the road. More specifically, it claims a method where a computer (1) determines if a taxi is free (i.e. currently has no rider); and if free (2) sends the current location of the taxi to the taxi dispatch server.

Both of Hailo’s patents date to the late 1990s. That is, the patents claim these inventions didn’t exist (or weren’t obvious) at that time. Except a brief Internet search shows that similar taxi dispatch technology not only existed, but was widely used. Two reports from the Department of Transportation from 1991 and 1992 describe the state of “computer dispatch” technology at that time, and show many of the claimed features of the ’619 and ’913 patents. Another report, from 1995, has even more detail about various taxi dispatch technologies. For example, on page 115 the report details a product called “MT GU,” an automated call box that allows customers to order “one or several taxis”, specify “the taxi desired” (including getting a larger van), and provides the waiting time. The MT GU system seems to describe many, if not all, of the features in the system claimed in the ’619 patent, and predates it by several years.

So there’s good reason to think that the inventions claimed in the two patents were not actually novel or nonobvious when the patent applications were filed. But will any of that matter? Patents, once issued, are presumed valid. In order for a patent to be declared invalid in court, a challenger must show “clear and convincing evidence” of invalidity. When the argument for invalidity is based on prior art, this can be an expensive and time consuming process, often costing in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Thus even if these patents are in fact invalid and never should have issued, due to the cost of litigation courts often never decide the issue.

An alternative to court exists in the form of inter partes review at the Patent Office. This allows the Patent Office to take a second look at claims in a patent, and declare them unpatentable under a more lenient “preponderance of the evidence” standard. But this procedure, although cheaper than court, is still relatively expensive. One study estimated costs through appeal at $350,000.

Given the costs of litigation in court or at the Patent Office, a patent owner can sue on a “presumed valid” patent and use the threat of fees and costs to get an undeserved settlement. When a company does nothing else (meaning, it doesn’t have a real business other than litigation) we call those companies “patent trolls.”

Hailo strikes us as pretty trollish. As noted, the patents in questions seem weak at best, and Hailo doesn’t seem to be seriously using the “inventions” in any event.  In its complaint against Uber, Hailo states that it is an app maker. But its website, www.bring.bikes, was registered only 10 days before it sued Uber and Lyft. Confusingly enough, there is another company named “Hailo” that actually does make a taxi hailing app.  Even more confusing: “Hailo” the patent owner says it does business under the name “Bring,” but does not appear to be associated with another company called Bring that’s actually involved in transportation.

This “Hailo” by contrast, seems focused on litigation. A recently filed document attaches the agreement assigning the ’913 patent from its original owner to Hailo. The contract is replete with references to patent enforcement and litigation. And in an earlier complaint, Hailo listed its business address as that of a law firm, and one of its members, 2S Ventures, has been associated with at least one entity that has filed over 20 lawsuits (login req.), a typical litigation pattern for a patent troll.  

Whether or not Hailo is a practicing company, these are weak patents that deserve serious challenge. Sadly, that’s unlikely to happen – which is why stupid patents like these should never issue.

Categories: Aggregated News

100 US Senators Want Israeli High Crimes Suppressed

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 29/04/2017 - 02:41
100 US Senators Want Israeli High Crimes Suppressed
by Stephen Lendman
In an April 27 letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, all US senators demanded the world body ignore Israeli high crimes, calling truth-telling “anti-Semiti(c).”
“Too often, the UN is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel,” they said.
Fact: Much more needs to be done to hold Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity - for decades of ruthlessly persecuting Palestinians, for committing slow-motion genocide, for attacking its neighbors.
The letter quoted neocon US UN envoy Nikki Haley, saying “(i)t is the UN’s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change” - an outrageous perversion of truth.
The senators praised the world body “for disavowing” the important Richard Falk/Virginia Tilley report, calling Israel a racist apartheid regime - “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The entire US Senate urged the UN “to improve (its) treatment of Israel…” It demands no world body support for the vital global BDS initiative - or any other actions hostile to Israeli interests.
It wants information about its human rights abuses suppressed. It demands support for US interests. It calls truth-telling anti-Israeli “bias.”
All 100 US senators disgracefully signed the letter. Washington and Israel partner in each other’s high crimes - a ruthless axis of evil threatening humanity.
Last week, Haley accused the world body of holding “Israel-bashing sessions.” Ignoring US wars in multiple theaters, she lied claiming “Iran is using Hezbollah to advance its regional aspirations.”
“They are working together to expand extremist ideologies in the Middle East. That is a threat that should be dominating our discussion at the Security Council.”
Iran threatens no one. Neither does Hezbollah. Haley turned truth on its head. So did Tillerson days earlier, irresponsibly accusing Tehran of “alarming ongoing provocations” to destabilize regional countries.
Iranian UN envoy Gholamali Khoshroo debunked his remarks, calling them “misleading propaganda…”
Last week Washington asked which Middle East countries benefit from regional chaos, “and what are the connections between terrorist groups and these states?”
Israel, of course, benefits most. So does America by its belligerent presence in a part of the world not its own - waging endless wars of aggression, supporting terrorist groups it created, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing all sovereign independent governments.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Cashing In: Obama's Post-Presidency Bonanza

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Sat, 29/04/2017 - 02:31
Cashing In: Obama’s Post-Presidency Bonanza
by Stephen Lendman
The benefits of being a former US president are limitless. Most former incumbents take full advantage.
Obama is using his political celebrity to cash in hugely. He moved into a reported $5.3 million, 8,200-square foot luxury mansion, two miles from the White House.
He spent weeks vacationing in Tahiti, including aboard a $300 million yacht. He and wife Michelle got a stunning $65 million book deal, ghost written for them.
He’s already wealthy from earlier book deals. He earned $400,000 annually as US president, $200,000 each year in pension benefits - plus $150,000 a year for two-and-a-half years, then $96,000 annually for life, adjusted for inflation.
Nice deal if you can get it. There’s potentially much more, including $400,000 for paid speeches to lots of corporations and groups willing to pay it.
He’s getting this amount to keynote a September healthcare conference, organized by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald.
Hillary was paid over $25 million in speaking fees since January 2014. Husband Bill cashed in the same way.
So did former Wall Street-controlled Fed chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. Political figures notoriously cash in big while in office and after leaving, Obama taking full advantage like many others.
The Los Angeles Times called it “(t)acky but not corrupt.” The NYT said he “balances civic-minded(ness) with the lure of” big bucks.
Concern for America’s poor and disadvantaged was never an Obama attribute. During his Chicago years, he supported ethnic cleansing gentrification.
Real estate and other financials interests profited hugely at the expense of ordinary people. His disdain for populism continued as a state and US senator.
He consistently promised one thing and delivered another - at the local, state and federal levels, mostly after becoming president.
Now a private citizen in his mid-50s, he’s got lots of years to get super-rich - living the good life, anti-progressive in office and since leaving, unaccountable for war crimes in multiple theaters, along with waging war on freedom domestically.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Trump's Deplorable First 100 Days

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 28/04/2017 - 22:38
Trump’s Deplorable First 100 Days
by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, April 29, is his 100th day in office. He’s off to a deplorable start, the worst likely ahead.
A White House press release (WHPR) turned truth on its head, praising what demands condemnation.
WHPR: Trump prioritized “putting America first (and) protecting national security…”
Fact: He’s consistently put America first for its wealthy, powerful and privileged exclusively - no one else.
Fact: National security needs no special protection at a time America’s only enemies are ones it invents - to destructively advance its imperium.
WHPR: Trump wants an additional $54 billion for so-called “defense.”
Fact: He wants it for warmaking, toppling independent governments, and enriching war-profiteers.
WHPR: He “stood up to countries that have threatened our national security after years of failed diplomacy.”
Fact: No countries anywhere threaten America. Washington’s rogue agenda threatens humanity’s survival.
WHPR: Trump “(s)ent a message to the world with his swift and decisive order to strike the Syrian air base that launched a horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.”
Fact: Trump authorized naked aggression against a sovereign state based on a Big Lie. At no time throughout over six years of war, did Syria use CWs. No evidence suggests otherwise.
WHPR: Trump “(f)urther isolated Syria and Russia at the United Nations through successful diplomacy with President Xi Jinping of China.”
Fact: Both countries have an enduring partnership. China’s Xi Jinping calls it unbreakable. According to his chief of staff Li Zhanshu, “Chinese-Russian relations are going through their best period in our history.”
Fact: Bilateral ties are solid, despite serious international challenges and efforts by rogue US officials to disrupt them. Trump’s White House lied claiming otherwise.
WHPR: He “(i)mposed sanctions on Syria for its use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians.”
Fact: Illegal sanctions were unilaterally imposed based on a Big Lie. No Syrian use of CWs occurred.
WHPR: He “(i)mposed sanctions on Iran for violating an international agreement that restricts its ballistic missile program.”
Fact: Iran’s ballistic missile program is entirely legitimate, violating no international or any other agreement.
WHPR: He “(w)orked to isolate North Korea and repositioned military assets to confront the regime’s provocative missile tests.”
Fact: His Korean peninsula brinksmanship risks unthinkable nuclear war, the ultimate nightmarish scenario.
The White House boasted about meeting with an array of world leaders - including brutal Israeli, Saudi and Egyptian despots.
Trump’s so-called border protection scheme is racist and illegitimate. His proposed southern border wall offends Mexico, will cost billions of dollars if built, and will accomplish little.
His domestic policies aim to make America more of a police state than already. He supports monied interests exclusively. His foreign policy risks humanity-destroying nuclear war.
His deplorable first 100 days suggests greater horrors ahead. He’s a rogue actor, serving wealth, power and privilege at the expense of most others at home and abroad - at the same time, threatening world peace.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

China v. US on North Korea

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 28/04/2017 - 22:22
China v. US on North Korea
by Stephen Lendman
On April 26, a Trump administration statement said he “aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our Allies and regional partners.”
Instead of a military option, it said he seeks dialogue and diplomacy to achieve “peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
Interviewed by Reuters on Thursday, his comments were disturbingly different, saying “(t)here is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”
“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult.” He called the DPRK his biggest global challenge - “an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority,” according to administration officials.
On April 28, China’s People’s Daily headlined “China draws red line for North Korea issue: war is not allowed,” saying:
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked tough on the North Korea issue, ruling out war. It’s “not acceptable,” he said.
“The Korean Peninsula is not the Middle East. If war breaks out, the consequences would be unimaginable.”
China’s position is firm, Korean peninsula denuclearization its aim, diplomacy and dialogue its way of resolving things.
Provocative US/South Korean military exercises violate “the spirit of (Security) Council resolutions,” Wang stressed.
Beijing will continue playing a constructive role in dealing with all parties. Its “red line” is war is unacceptable.
On April 27, China’s Global Times (GT) said Pyongyang’s nuclear tests “100 kilometers from (its) border…threatens” its northeast region.
Its nuclear and ballistic missile programs “giv(e) Washington an excuse to enhance its military deployment in the region…China cannot be a bystander.”
Beijing and Washington are world’s apart on resolving things. “(T)hey share common interests in opposing Pyongyang developing nuclear and missile technologies,” said GT.
If the “nuclear issue boils over…war…is unavoidable…If China does not tackle the conundrum now, it will face more difficult choices in the future.”
Its government wants cooperation by all parties - Pyongyang suspending its nuclear tests, Washington and South Korea halting provocative joint military exercises, diplomacy and dialogue over military confrontation.
If Beijing fails to achieve its objectives, it’s able “to strike back at any side that crosses (its) red line,” GT stressed.
The Korean peninsula remains a dangerous flashpoint. Trump’s rage for war makes anything possible.
A Final Comment
On Friday, Secretary of State Tillerson will chair a special Security Council session on North Korea.
According to acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Monday (now succeeded by Fox News host Heather Nauert):
“The meeting will give Security Council members an opportunity to discuss ways to maximize the impact of existing Security Council measures and show their resolve to respond to further provocations with appropriate new measures.”
“The DPRK poses one of the gravest threats to international peace and security through its pursuit of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction as well as its other prohibited activities.”
America and its rogue allies alone pose regional and global threats. The North Korean “conundrum” isn’t going away any time soon.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite in France?

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 28/04/2017 - 22:11
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite in France?
by Stephen Lendman
Its deplorable policies belie its national motto - first declared during its 1789 - 99 revolution, overthrowing monarchal rule, establishing the First French Republic in 1792.
When the 1848 Constitution was drafted, it was considered a “principle of the Republic.” July 14, Bastille Day, represents transferring power from the monarchy to the people.
The national motto was written into the 1946 and 1958 Constitutions. It’s part of France’s national heritage, inscribed on the pediments of public buildings, appearing on coins, postage stamps and elsewhere.
Modern French governance is deplorable, its sovereignty sacrificed to Brussels, a US-dominated NATO member, an imperial American partner.
After its May 7 runoff election, it’s likely to stay that way - establishment favorite Emmanuel Macron heavily favored to win.
French aristocracy loves him, strongly opposes Le Pen for wanting national sovereignty regained, an anathema notion for globalists, a scheme to enrich privileged elites at the expense of most others.
Hoping to distance herself from unpopular National Front policies, she announced she’s no longer its president, stressing “I am the candidate for the French presidency.”
Explaining her move, she said it’s to be “above partisan considerations.” She faces a daunting task of winning over enough undecided voters and others supporting defeated candidates.
Polls aren’t encouraging, showing Macron heavily favored. On May 7, voters will choose a new president.
Hugely unpopular Francois Hollande’s tenure will end days later, continuity under Macron likely to follow.
French media and establishment figures already proclaimed him the winner. Le Pen warned he’ll “destroy (the) entire (French) social and economic structure.”
It’s already in shambles after five disastrous Hollande years. Under him, his recent predecessors, with Macron likely France’s next president, dirty business as usual should replace its Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite national motto.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Most House Democrats Support Medicare for All

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 28/04/2017 - 22:02
Most House Democrats Support Medicare for All
by Stephen Lendman
Healthcare is a fundamental human right - not a commodity to be sold for maximum profits, based on the ability to pay, the deplorable way America’s system works.
On January 24, Rep. John Conyers introduced HR 676: Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act. 
Referred to committee for consideration, it calls for providing “comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States resident, improved health care delivery, and for other purposes.”
The measure has a record number of co-sponsors - 104, including 28 new ones in April, all Democrats, no Republicans.
If enacted, it would achieve about $500 billion in annual administrative savings. It would immediately cover all uninsured American citizens, none excluded.
It would achieve Trump’s rhetorical goal of greater coverage, better benefits and lower costs - a win for all Americans except for the following:
Predatory industry profiteers oppose it. So do their House and Senate allies along with Trump - fundamentally against equitable, affordable universal healthcare.
According to Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) president Dr. Carol Paris, Americans are fed up with an inhumane, profit-driven health system that leaves millions without care.” 
“Quality health care is not a luxury, nor is it a commodity that can be bought and sold in a marketplace. It is a social good that can be best delivered through a single-payer national health program.”
Most Americans support it. Momentum builds for it, Paris added. “Now is the time” to enact the only equitable system. 
Proposed Trumpcare is an abomination, worse than initially introduced in revised form - costing more, providing much less. 
It lets states opt out of federal mandates at their discretion, permits insurers to charge elderly Americans and ones with pre-existing conditions much higher premiums.
They could exclude essential services from coverage, including maternity care and expensive treatments for various illnesses, diseases and injuries.
Subsidies for low-income households would be slashed, making vital healthcare unaffordable for millions.
Currently under Obamacare, 19 states refused to expand Medicaid even though most costs are federally funded.
According to the American Medical Association, Trumpcare 2.0 “could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions.”
So far, Republicans haven’t enough House vote to pass it. No vote is planned this week.
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane,” Martin Luther King stressed.
US administrations and most congressional members oppose assuring all Americans have access to affordable healthcare.
Universal, government-sponsored single-payer coverage is the only equitable system - no others.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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