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.

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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

Apple and Samsung finally settle 7-year patent dispute over claims of 'slavishly' copied iPhone design

• It's about patents for smartphones & tablets • The legal battle began in 2011 • In May, jury said Samsung owed Apple $539M • Today, they settled. Read the rest

A painful device to punish hat thieves

In 1911, inventor Frank P. Snow invented this "hat guard" to inflict a painful punishment on any creep with the gall to steal a chapeau belonging to another gentleman. From Weird Universe:

A thief could take the hat, but if he tried to put it on, a "guarding prong" would jab into his skull. The prong locked in place and could only be moved if you knew the code to the combination lock.

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EFF has comprehensively killed the bullshit podcasting patent

Back in 2014, a patent troll called Personal Audio LLC embarked on a campaign to shake down podcasters large and small for millions, but then they made the mistake of tangling with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Read the rest

Men: Rest your weary head while urinating

In 2002, Eric D. Page was granted US patent #6681419B1 for a "Forehead support apparatus" enabling men to rest their head (the one atop the neck) while standing at a urinal. The device includes a "mounting member," which contrary to what you might think is actually a fitting for attaching it to the wall. It's also suitable for the shower. From the Abstract:

A compressible head support member is attached to and extends from the wall and said mounting member. The head support defines an elastically deformable or resilient forehead support surface which is spaced above the floor and from the wall a distance sufficient for the user to lean his forehead thereagainst and be supported while using the commode or urinal.

(Weird Universe) Read the rest

After industry adopts open video standards, MPEG founder says the end is nigh

Leonardo Chiariglione is founder and chairman of the International Standards Organization's Motion Picture Expert Group (MPEG), whose standards have dominated video playback since the earliest days; MPEG's primary rival is the Alliance for Open Media, an ascendant open standards body that requires that members promise not to enforce patents that overlap with its standards, meaning that anyone can play back AOM video without paying rent to MPEG members. Read the rest

Epson uses dubious patent claims to nuke ink sellers' listings from eBay

Epson has taken a page from HP's dirty-tricks playbook to ensure that no one can compete with them by selling ink at affordable prices. Read the rest

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