Adversarial Interoperability

“Interoperability” is the act of making a new product or service work with an existing product or service: modern civilization depends on the standards and practices that allow you to put any dish into a dishwasher or any USB charger into any car’s cigarette lighter. Read the rest

Facebook has filed a laughable patent-application for the well-known practice of "shadow banning"

Shadow-banning is a process that dates back to at least the 1980s, with Citadel BBS's "twit bit," which would allow users to post replies to forums that they could see, but no one else could see. Read the rest

New Amazon patent application reveals "solution" to missed Alexa instructions: always on recording

When you talk to Alexa and other voice assistants, you have to phrase your requests by starting with their "wakeword" ("Alexa" "OK Google" "Siri" etc). Read the rest

Sleuthing from public sources to figure out how the Hateful Eight leaker was caught

In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies. Read the rest

How the patent office's lax standards gave Elizabeth Holmes the BS patents she needed to defraud investors and patients

When legendary grifter Elizabeth Holmes was 19 years old, she conceived of a medical device that could perform extensive diagnostics in an eyeblink from only a single drop of blood; she had no idea how such a device would work or whether it was even possible, but that didn't stop her from drawing up a patent application for her "invention" and repeatedly submitting to the patent office until, eventually, she was awarded a patent for what amounted to a piece of uninspiring design fiction. Read the rest

Insider sources say Apple is shutting its east Texas stores to escape the jurisdiction of America's worst patent court

The Eastern District of Texas is home to a crooked court that is in the pocket of patent trolls, handing down ludicrous rulings in favor of the trolls, whose "head offices" are tiny, unoccupied offices in empty, dusty office buildings, the rent on which entitles patent trolls to claim that their rights are being infringed in the demense of the Eastern District's terrible judges. Read the rest

How Epson's patent trolling is killing the EU market for replacement ink

If you're thinking of buying an Epson printer, think again (if you were unlucky enough to buy one already, consider switching): in an industry marked by the dirtiest of tricks to force customers to spend vast fortunes on ink that costs pennies to manufacture, Epson has marked itself out as a true innovator of sleazy tactics. Read the rest

Netherlands court strikes down Dutch grifter's patent claim over Ethiopia's ancient staple grain teff

Teff is one of the oldest grains to have been cultivated, a staple for so long that its original cultivation date is lost to history and can only be estimated at between 1000 and 4000 BCE; it is best known as the main ingredient in injera, the soft pancakes that are served with Ethiopian meals. Read the rest

Houseplant patent EULA: "Asexual reproduction using scions, buds or cutting is strictly prohibited"

Not much detail on this patented houseplant and its terrifying license "agreement": redditor GooberMcNutly posted it a few hours ago and hasn't said anything else about it. Plants are patentable, and in theory patents reach into private conduct. Whatever the story, this is some primo late-stage capitalism right here. Read the rest

Of pasta and patents

According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta, there are hundreds of pasta shapes. At Smithsonian, Elizabeth Chu and D. Lawrence Tarazano of the US Patent Office look at relatively recent machinery to crank out the floury forms. From Smithsonian:

The various shapes can be categorized based on the means by which they are formed: by hand, rolled into sheets, or extruded. For each pasta making method, there have been a number of inventions to ease and mechanize the process.

Pastas formed by hand have been the most difficult to replicate by machine because of the complexity of the actions done by hand. Cavatelli, gnocchi and orecchiette, for example, are made by rolling pasta dough by hand into a long snake shape, cutting it into equal sized dough pieces, and dragging the dough to form a cup like shape. With cavatelli and gnocchi, the dough is dragged against a fork or grooved surface with a thumb to form a curled dough piece in the shape of a hot dog bun; the only real difference between the two is the dough. Gnocchi is made from a dough containing eggs, flour and cooked potatoes, whereas cavatelli are typically made from an eggless semolina wheat dough. Orecchiette, Italian for “little ear,” are made by dragging the dough pieces against a flat surface using a small spatula or knife, followed by a little hand shaping to round it out.

Italian inventors Franco Annicchiarico and Adima Pilari, who received U.S. patent no. 4,822,271 on April 18, 1989 for “an improved machine for manufacturing short cut varieties of Italian pasta (orecchiette, etc.),” developed a machine for making these cupped pastas.

Read the rest

Patent trolls celebrate as Trump's new rules breathes fresh life into parasitic grifter capitalism

A golden age of blackmail began in 1996, when the US Patent and Trademark Office created extremely generous criteria for when software could be patented, allowing every shitty grifter to register a patent for $SOMETHING_OBVIOUS (with a computer) -- thanks to the USPTO's laid-back approach to searching prior art, several people could patent the same obvious thing. Read the rest

The audiophile MQA format really doesn't have DRM, but that doesn't mean it's not on the toxic rainbow of locked tech

After watching a CCC presentation that claimed that the MQA audiophile format has "stealth DRM," I decided to investigate, and I'm pretty sure MQA is not DRM. Read the rest

America's most notorious patent troll, now bankrupt, values its bullshit patents at $1

For more than a decade, Shipping and Transit LLC (AKA Arrivalstar) has been aggressively pursuing dubious patent claims against public transit companies, shippers, and other businesses whose practices overlapped with Arrivalstar's absurd, obvious patents on using GPSes to figure out where stuff was. Read the rest

Motorola patents a robocop autonomous car that brethalyzes, mirandizes you, calls your lawyer and collects your bail

In Patent 10049419, "Mobile law enforcement communication system and method," Motorola engineers describe "A communication system, comprising: a self-driving vehicle within which to detain a detainee by a law enforcement officer" that locks you up, administers a breathalyzer, reads you your rights, figures out who your counsel of record is, conferences you in with your lawyer, consults with a court on your bail, and lets you swipe your cards to bail out of the car. Read the rest

This nail dispensing hammer is a work of genius

Michael Young's an industrial designer. After over six years of tinkering, he came up with this frigging masterpiece of a prototype: a framing hammer that dispenses nails. If it ever makes it to market, having mashed my digits setting up a nail to be driven into boards an untold number of times, I will be the fist in line to buy this thing. Read the rest

Big Bang: the "stupid patent" on teledildonics has expired

Twenty years ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 6,368,268: "Method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks," a minor classic of a majorly fucked-up genre, the bullshit tech patent that simply adds "with a computer" to some absolutely obvious and existing technology or technique. Read the rest

Former Obama trade official teams up with Trump to create highly profitable TB epidemics in poor countries

When Josh Black quit his job as Obama's director for U.N. and Multilateral Affairs after the 2016 election (citing "growing disillusionment"), he found a sweet job as Associate Vice President for International Advocacy at Phrma, the global lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry, which meant that he still got to work at the UN, but now he'd be advocating for giant, rapacious corporations that hold peoples' lives hostage to their profits! (speaking as a former NGO observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization from the era of the Access to Medicines treaty, Phrma are effectively public health war criminals). Read the rest

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