Re: E-commerce patents

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Chris Mayhew, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Chris Mayhew

    Chris Mayhew Guest

    madknoxie <> wrote in news:madknoxie-
    :

    > I just came across this article in the Herald about a Canadian firm
    > demanding licenses from e-tailers because it was granted a patent here
    > because they were the first to "computerise the ability to do
    > international business transactions".
    >
    > So does that mean that ANYONE who sells online is subject to these legal
    > threats? That in itself is bizarre, but how on earth were they granted
    > the patent in the first place?
    >
    > http://home.nzcity.co.nz/nl.asp?667025
    >
    > or
    >
    > http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3511626&thesection=bus
    > iness&thesubsection=ebusiness
    >
    > -----------------------------
    >
    > Patent threat to NZ e-tailers
    >
    > 09.07.2003
    > By PETER GRIFFIN IT writer
    >
    > A tiny Montreal-based company with patents covering international
    > e-commerce transactions is flexing its muscles, demanding New Zealand
    > internet retailers pay licensing fees to avoid being shut down.
    >
    > DE Technologies has been granted patents in New Zealand, the US and
    > Singapore covering cross-border e-commerce processes, which range from
    > currency conversion and electronic invoicing to creating databases of
    > purchase histories.
    >
    > Now the firm, which in 2001 unsuccessfully sought help from Investment
    > New Zealand to set up its business in the country, is looking to enforce
    > its patents and generate revenue from them.
    >
    > Thousands of internet retailers in the three countries could potentially
    > be targeted with licensing demands in a move that appears to be
    > initially aimed at small operators.
    >
    > Among the first to be threatened with legal action is two-man operation
    > www.productsfromnz.com, which advertises and accepts payment for New
    > Zealand-made products over the internet.
    >
    > The firm received a letter from James & Wells, a law firm acting for
    > DET, which demanded a "signing fee" of US$10,000 ($16,762) and a
    > "royalty rate" of 1.5 per cent of website transaction value. DET also
    > wanted 11USc for documents generated - from commercial invoices to
    > packaging lists and import declarations.
    >
    > Website founder Simon Cope said the letter threatened his business with
    > an injunction unless it paid up for a three-year licence agreement.
    >
    > "We're in our first year, we haven't even made a profit yet."
    >
    > He would seek legal advice before deciding whether to remove elements of
    > the site covered by DET's patent, or simply ignore the action.
    >
    > Either way, a protracted legal fight was out of the question, said Cope,
    > who thought his company may have been targeted due to its high rankings
    > on internet search engines.
    >
    > "We've no ability really to [fight it]. This is beyond me from a funding
    > point of view."
    >
    > Other letters have been issued to internet retailers. James & Wells
    > lawyer Ian Finch would not reveal where they had been sent.
    >
    > But DET also has internet providers in its sights. The letter to Cope
    > outlines a licensing model that would apply to ISPs which host
    > infringing e-commerce operators and would involve paying an upfront fee
    > of US$25,000 covering 25 merchants and a further US$1000 for each
    > additional e-tailer it hosts. This licence type would attract a royalty
    > rate of 1.15 per cent of total transaction value and 5.5USc per document
    > produced.
    >
    > That threatens internet provider WebFarm, which hosts
    > www.productsfromnz.com. Other web-hosting ISPs such as Xtra or Clearnet,
    > which host hundreds more e-commerce websites, were potentially in the
    > same boat.
    >
    > WebFarm chief executive Richard Shearer said DET's patent would apply to
    > any website calculating delivery payments or offering currency
    > selections, bringing thousands of operators within its scope.
    >
    > "They're basically trying to lay claim to the idea of providing a
    > service to a customer."
    >
    > Shearer feared thousands of small e-commerce operators would be unable
    > to afford to mount a challenge against DET's claims.
    >
    > The Internet Society was looking at DET's patents, but executive
    > director Peter Macauley doubted the licence demands would stand up to
    > legal scrutiny.
    >
    > "In my experience events like these are usually someone out to make a
    > quick buck."
    >
    > Matt Adams, a partner at intellectual Property Law firm A.J. Park, said
    > DET's patents may be successfully challenged and made invalid.
    >
    > He said patents were often granted because examiners were unable to find
    > research material that would invalidate them.
    >
    > "If anyone can find any documents which describe the system or evidence
    > of its commercial use in New Zealand prior to December 1997, that's good
    > grounds for invalidating the patent," he said.
    >
    > The men behind DET's far-reaching patents, Ed Pool and Douglas Mauer,
    > claim to be the first inventors to "computerise the ability to do
    > international business transactions".
    >
    > The patent application originally drew Congressional objections in the
    > US, but was granted last year.
    >
    > Then, the Wall Street Journal reported that DET had been granted a
    > controversial patent by the US Patent Office that "purports to cover any
    > computerised process for automating international-commerce paperwork".
    >
    > DET Montreal-based president Bruce Lagerman said the firm was just going
    > after licensing revenue it was entitled to. It also had a "licensing
    > programme" in place in the US.
    >
    > "We're not going after the little guy, we're not interested in
    > enforcement proceedings unless we have to," he said.
    >
    > In an e-mail to Herald IT editor Chris Barton in October, Pool said DET
    > had approached e-commerce software vendors it saw as likely licensees
    > about the possibility of reaching agreement to build a "standardised
    > platform which can be widely dispersed and shared". Nothing had come of
    > that, forcing DET to pursue "selective enforcements".
    >


    Here is the NZ website set up to fight it

    http://www.fightthepatent.co.nz/

    Some background info on the patent which makes good reading

    http://www.fightthepatent.co.nz/background.asp

    This could be an interesting battle.


    --
    Chris Mayhew using Xnews !
     
    Chris Mayhew, Jul 10, 2003
    #1
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  2. Nicholas Sherlock, Jul 10, 2003
    #2
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  3. Chris Mayhew

    Howard Guest

    Chris Mayhew wrote:

    > Here is the NZ website set up to fight it
    >
    > http://www.fightthepatent.co.nz/
    >
    > Some background info on the patent which makes good reading


    Interesting. I wonder whether it's all OS users, or just the free as in
    speech ones that care storngly about this issue. I would have tought the
    later, so it was interesting to see this error message when you click on the
    links on that page.
    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e57'

    [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]String or binary data would
    be truncated.

    /click.asp, line 41
     
    Howard, Jul 10, 2003
    #3
  4. Chris Mayhew

    lily Guest

    "Nicholas Sherlock" <> wrote in message
    news:beiqid$ibv$...
    > "Chris Mayhew" <> wrote in message
    > news:SD1Pa.3908$...
    > <snip 7kb of post>
    > >
    > > Here is the NZ website set up to fight it
    > >
    > > http://www.fightthepatent.co.nz/
    > >
    > > Some background info on the patent which makes good reading
    > >
    > > http://www.fightthepatent.co.nz/background.asp
    > >
    > > This could be an interesting battle.

    >
    > FFS learn to snip!


    I can write a program to do that for you !!!! <pant> <pant>
    >
    > Nicholas Sherlock
    >
    >
     
    lily, Jul 11, 2003
    #4
  5. Chris Mayhew

    lily Guest

    "T.N.O." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Chris Mayhew wrote
    > > > FFS learn to snip!

    > >
    > > try learning some manners young man

    >
    > He wasn't impolite, he simply suggested that you "learn to snip!", a
    > valuable skill to have, and one that you seemed to need.


    FFS == bad manners
     
    lily, Jul 11, 2003
    #5
  6. Chris Mayhew

    T.N.O. Guest

    lily wrote:
    > FFS == bad manners
    >
    >


    I suppose it depends on how easily people get offended... personally, I
    saw nothing wrong with the ffs, but others have.

    I think that he really does need to learn to snip, save what little
    bandwidth the poor dial up users have.
     
    T.N.O., Jul 11, 2003
    #6
  7. Chris Mayhew

    Chris Mayhew Guest

    "T.N.O." <> wrote in news:3f0e9558$:

    > lily wrote:
    >> FFS == bad manners
    >>
    >>

    >
    > I suppose it depends on how easily people get offended... personally, I
    > saw nothing wrong with the ffs, but others have.
    >
    > I think that he really does need to learn to snip, save what little
    > bandwidth the poor dial up users have.
    >
    >


    You and Nicholas seem to have overlooked the possibility that it was a
    simple oversight on my part (not with standing your ideas on how much
    should be sniped from a post, which might vary from person to person and
    from post to post).

    Both of your reactions might be more likened to acts of desparation as the
    result of being faced with a habitual "non sniper" raving on about nothing,
    calling people names, etc. etc. rather than someone who finaly forgot to
    snip out some text from a post that might have saved 2 or 3 KB in the size
    of the post which would have had a minimal impact on someones dial up
    bandwidth but being the purist's you have made yourselves out to be you
    would probably say that 2 KB was 2 KB.

    Considering some of the CRAP that gets posted in this NG I think my
    "ofending" is at the lower end of the scale a FACT that most people would
    have taken into account before launching themselves into a frenzy of
    swearing and condersending remarks.

    You have most likely wasted more bandwidth complaining about this than what
    I "wasted" from my simple over sight in the first place.

    Perhaps you will now complain that I'm not using a spell checker but I'm
    sure someone can write a program for that ! ;)

    --
    Chris Mayhew using Xnews !
     
    Chris Mayhew, Jul 11, 2003
    #7
  8. Chris Mayhew

    Gavin Tunney Guest

    On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 19:30:51 +1200, "Howard" <>
    wrote:

    >Chris Mayhew wrote:
    >
    >> Here is the NZ website set up to fight it
    >>
    >> http://www.fightthepatent.co.nz/
    >>
    >> Some background info on the patent which makes good reading

    >
    >Interesting. I wonder whether it's all OS users, or just the free as in
    >speech ones that care storngly about this issue. I would have tought the
    >later, so it was interesting to see this error message when you click on the
    >links on that page.
    >Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e57'
    >
    >[Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]String or binary data would
    >be truncated.
    >
    >/click.asp, line 41
    >

    Howard one could very easily take offence at your comments here. Don't
    for a minute think that people who care about free speech are just
    those who don't use Microsoft products. If you truly believe it's that
    simple then you just haven't got a clue about people mate.

    You might like to think about many of the people who push the open
    source barrow and other causes. They might claim to be defending free
    speech, but the only 'speech' they condone or accept is the one that
    agrees with them.....which doesn't spell "free" in my dictionary.

    As for the patents issue. It's just a money grab, a modern-day gold
    rush. Rampant greed at its finest, and any reasonable person finds it
    abhorrent. It also demeans & diminishes the real reasons and benefits
    of having patents.

    Gavin
     
    Gavin Tunney, Jul 14, 2003
    #8
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