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Court Orders Marvell To Pay Carnegie Mellon $1.5B For Patent Infringement

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the enforced-endowments dept.

The Courts 85

Lucas123 writes "A U.S. District Court has ruled that Marvell Technology must pay Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) $1.54B for infringing on two hard drive chip patents. Marvell was also ordered to pay interest at 0.14% annually, and 50 cents for each chip sold that uses the intellectual property. While Marvell did not comment on the case, CMU said it 'understands' that Marvell will again appeal the ruling and the school 'will look forward to the federal circuit court' upholding the lower court's ruling. The latest decision by a U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania ends for now a five-year legal battle between the two. In 2012, a jury found Marvell had violated CMU's patents, and the chip maker then appealed that ruling."

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I miss-counted the number of Ls on that (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962739)

Suck it, Tony Stark. - Batman.

Re:I miss-counted the number of Ls on that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962841)

Marvell was a Marvel character, though ;P

Re:I miss-counted the number of Ls on that (0)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 7 months ago | (#46962883)

Marvell was a Marvel character, though ;P

That's Captain to you.

Jaxon Raybun, Attorney-at-Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963271)

Slashdot,
 
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--Jaxon Raybun, Attorney-at-Law
Or Call Toll Free in the USA: (800)343-5594

1.5 Billion? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962745)

Ummm... what is a school going to do with 1.5 Billion dollars?

Isn't that obvious? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962769)

Lower the student fee?

*laughs*

Re:Isn't that obvious? (4, Informative)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 7 months ago | (#46962955)

build another admin building with a level opulence that would make a Saudi prince feel like a tent dwelling nomad -- duh. :)

Re:Isn't that obvious? (0)

Nimey (114278) | about 7 months ago | (#46964747)

Upgrade the football stadium.

Re:Isn't that obvious? (2)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | about 7 months ago | (#46967355)

They could give out USB sticks instead of 3 1/2" floppies...

Re:Isn't that obvious? (2)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 7 months ago | (#46967115)

I graduated from CMU in 1994 with a Math/CS degree. I went back there this spring with some college friends for the first time in about 20 years.

There are alot of new buildings, and they are ridiculously opulent compared to what we had. Instead of the bare concrete corridors of Wean Hall (which they've actually tiled and put drop ceilings in sometime in the past 20 years - way to spoil a mood!) students now walk through gleaming glass and natural wood interiors.

I must say it all seems about 1,000 more cushy than we ever had it, and CMU lost a little of its stark barrenness in the process. As an old timer I lament that but I can certainly see how it makes the place more comfortable and attractive to the young-uns.

I expect that the same is true on many campuses in the USA, perhaps especially the CS powerhouses. I live maybe 20 miles from Stanford now and although I haven't been on their campus in maybe 15 years I have heard that there has been tons of development there as well (probably more than CMU given how ungodly rich Stanford is).

I haven't been to MIT since 1993 maybe but I expect they also have had a glut of fancy new buildings in the past 20 years.

Re:1.5 Billion? (2)

c4320n (2551122) | about 7 months ago | (#46962823)

Their endowment is about $1.4 billion already; they ran a $1 billion dollar campaign as recently as 2003. I'm sure they would find numerous uses for it.

Re:1.5 Billion? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#46962827)

...maybe they can field a football team?

Re: 1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46964141)

CMU doesn't pay attention to football. A good buggy race, now that is worth watching.

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46966117)

No one scores at CMU.

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962889)

lower tuition.

ba-dump-bump! Tssss!

Re:1.5 Billion? (3, Informative)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46962907)

Since these proceeds will qualify as royalties, under CMU's Intelectual Property Policy [cmu.edu] the school will "only" get 750 million. The other half will go to the two inventors on the patents.

And I'm sure they'll find something to do with it.

Re:1.5 Billion? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963149)

I think you meant "the two inventors OF the patents"... But then, you are AMERICAN, aren't you... You Americans sure do have problems with prepositions...

Re:1.5 Billion? (4, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#46963161)

You don't invent patents. You patent inventions. The patents list the inventors. The inventors [names] are ON the patents.

Re:1.5 Billion? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963237)

You don't invent patents. You patent inventions.

Maybe that's how it works in soviet Russia, but here in America you can invent a patent on just about anything. The more obvious the better.

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963409)

Just...no.

Re: 1.5 Billion? (4, Funny)

Wovel (964431) | about 7 months ago | (#46963183)

Pretty pretentious for someone who is wrong...

Re:1.5 Billion? (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 7 months ago | (#46963463)

I think you meant "the two inventors OF the patents"... But then, you are AMERICAN, aren't you... You Americans sure do have problems with prepositions...

No.

"The other half will go to the two inventors ON the patents", while not completely grammatically correct, is accepted as vernacular shorthand for "The other half will go to the two inventors... whose signatures are ...on the patents".

"OF" the patents is completely incorrect because this would indicate that the people who came up with the idea of using patents would get paid and not the actual inventors of this particular invention.

Re:1.5 Billion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962909)

Dumb asses like you have no idea what CMU is or you'd not ask such a fucktard question.
 
I know it sounds kind of harsh but fuck it. This is Carnegie Mellon and who gives a fuck what they do with the money if Marvell did indeed infringe?

Re:1.5 Billion? (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | about 7 months ago | (#46962911)

my vote goes to advancing text2speech and voice recognition for one http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/, computer vision http://www.cmucam.org/

Re:1.5 Billion? (3, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#46963173)

Does CMU have a monospace to proportional project to donate to?

Re:1.5 Billion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963055)

Piss it away on more anti-white, genocidal 'diversity' bullshit...

Re:1.5 Billion? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#46963281)

They better not spend it just yet.

Re:1.5 Billion? (1)

santiago (42242) | about 7 months ago | (#46963441)

Maybe they can stop hassling me for money each year

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46965323)

No, this simply means they will have more money to pay more people to hassle more alumni for more money.

(philip.paradis here, posting anonymously because I don't log in on this machine)

Re:1.5 Billion? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46963957)

License fees are part of how they pay for doing research. It will probably get plowed into their investment portfolio and the interest on it will be used for equipment, facilities, staff, and student research.

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46964701)

Become a patent troll?

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46965219)

They could build a modern library with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the library and the blackjack.

Re:1.5 Billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46967213)

If they are anything like my alma mater, they'll use part of the money to sue more people and to harass researchers into patenting their ideas instead of maximizing benefit for the world and letting the ideas which were already paid for out for free. Ideas which would have been independently developed anyway. The researchers I knew hated the "foundation" which made money off patents and got in the way of research. Theoretically the foundation gave money for research too, but most of it went to lawyers and high paid administrators.

wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962763)

That'll pay for a lot of melons!

Re:wow (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 6 months ago | (#46987607)

And in the summer they could go to John Cougar Melon Camp.

I know that patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962829)

Must be the patent responsible for the s-l-o-w-e-s-t drive performance ever in the entire history of computing. I've seen snails faster than Marvell SATA controllers.

Mental note to self:
1. patent the method of doing things badly
2. Sue anyone else who produces bad products
3. Profit!

Melon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962845)

I thought he went to Grand Lakes University.

0.14% Interest? (2)

CycleMan (638982) | about 7 months ago | (#46962875)

Does this mean that if Marvell delays paying CMU for 50 years, they'll only pay an additional 7%? Compared to the rate of inflation, that's a marvelous deal.

Re:0.14% Interest? (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#46963029)

I was also surprised by that, but looks like it's mechanically computed based on T-bill rates. The full opinion is here (pdf) [justia.com] .

The opinion cites (on p. 47) 28 U.S. 1961 [cornell.edu] , which says:

interest shall be calculated from the date of the entry of the judgment, at a rate equal to the weekly average 1-year constant maturity Treasury yield, as published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, for the calendar week preceding the date of the judgment

And the 1-year T-bill rate is indeed somewhere around that [treasury.gov] .

Re:0.14% Interest? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 7 months ago | (#46963753)

That's roughly how I felt when I found out that modern 'savings' accounts offer 0.01% interest...

Re:0.14% Interest? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46964399)

Yes, but just flat out refusing to pay will land them back in court on contempt charges.

Re:0.14% Interest? (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 6 months ago | (#46976575)

yup, businesses love this stuff. I wonder if i should start work on a fab plant.

Good guys and bad guys (1, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 7 months ago | (#46962877)

So this ruling of course means that CMU will compensate some professor or former student handsomely with royalties for this IP that they stole via their "Top Hits of the Robber Barons" terms of employment/enrollment?

Re:Good guys and bad guys (5, Informative)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46962931)

In fact, they will. CMU's IP Policy [cmu.edu] is quite clear on this matter. The inventors will get 50% of the proceeds.

Re:Good guys and bad guys (1)

reedrudy (471719) | about 7 months ago | (#46963135)

I do not know the details of these particular patents and I am not a lawyer, but I would disagree that the policy is “quite clear” on this matter. The policy defines creator to mean “person or persons who create an item of intellectual property.” Since this IP was developed at a university, creators probably refers to a professor and one or more graduate students. I do not see anything in the policy that specifies how that 50% will be distributed. It is quite possible that the 50% would be distributed directly to the professor and the students would receive no compensation by default.

Re:Good guys and bad guys (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#46963265)

It is quite possible that the 50% would be distributed directly to the professor and the students would receive no compensation by default.

Yeah, right. The professor was probably marginally involved in the invention -- he/she probably only improved/refined the original idea. The "creator" proceeds should be divided equally unless you who know who did how much work.

Re:Good guys and bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963277)

I don't know how it works at CMU, but at my university, when you submit the patent application the inventors come to an agreement on percentage contributions to the invention. The share of patent royalties paid to inventors (50% at CMU) would then be divided among them according to those percentages.

Re:Good guys and bad guys (1)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46963331)

You are correct that the specific breakdown of that 50% is entirely dependent on the percentages agreed upon when the internal invention disclosure was made, and that the assignation of those percentages between the various inventors is not dictated in any particular way by the IP Policy. What is clear, however is that 50% (minus 1/2 of the legal fees) will be distributed amongst to the two inventors.

That said, at CMU, any faculty member who tries to cut his or her grad students out of their invention disclosures will likely soon find him or herself running short on grad students, not to mention liable to be hauled into court for fraud. So there is strong self-interested impetus to make those percentages as correct as possible.

Re:Good guys and bad guys (1)

felixrising (1135205) | about 7 months ago | (#46965985)

Fuck yeah! Party at my place (for the next year!)!!!!!

Taxpayer subsidized? (0)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 7 months ago | (#46962885)

Is this university taxpayer subsidized? If so, why is the research not being made available for use by those who have already paid for it, i.e. the taxpayers?

Tax-funded research should be in the public domain.

Period.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962959)

Calm down, they're a private university. You could've google/wikipedia that before flying off the handle.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 7 months ago | (#46963017)

Welcome to Slashdot, you are new here?

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963297)

Calm down, they're a private university. You could've google/wikipedia that before flying off the handle.

Yes, and I'm *sure* none of the work related to the patent was funded through federal grants... I don't know specifically about CMU, but in general, a university will expect professors to bring in almost all funding for their research from external grants.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46963361)

In fact, it was funded by industry.

From CMU's FAQ on the case [cmu.edu] :

"Their work was done under the auspices of CMU's Data Storage Systems Center [cmu.edu] , which was formed as a partnership between CMU and certain members of the information storage industry and through which CMU has worked closely with industry partners for decades. The DSSC was formed to and has played a critical role in preserving research and development efforts and jobs in the hard disk drive industry in the United States."

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963009)

30 seconds on Google would have answered your question but you just had to hear yourself talk. Now you look like an ass because you are an ass.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#46963039)

I don't see anything wrong with some of Marvell's profits from commercializing the invention going back to fund the researchers who invented it. What benefit to the public does it serve to let Marvell keep all the profits?

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 7 months ago | (#46963091)

The benefit to the public is that you and I should (would) have the same right to use the results of that research for commercial enterprise (or anything else) too.

Note that I didn't ask if this is a public or a private university; that's irrelevant to the issue at hand. I asked if it's being taxpayer subsidized. I suspect that you would be hard pressed to find a "significant" university in the USA (or anywhere else) that isn't taxpayer subsidized, frankly. Therefore, their research should be placed in the public domain.

That's my opinion; you're free to disagree, of course.

Re: Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

Wovel (964431) | about 7 months ago | (#46963219)

What do you mean subsidized? Accept students on financial aid? Have some government research grants? Why would any of those preclude the university from selling an invention?

If this research was funded by a government grant then the university would not own the IP. That is clearly not the case here or this would have died in court 5 years ago....

Re: Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 7 months ago | (#46963715)

What do you mean subsidized? Accept students on financial aid? Have some government research grants? Why would any of those preclude the university from selling an invention?

If this research was funded by a government grant then the university would not own the IP. That is clearly not the case here or this would have died in court 5 years ago....

It was partially supported by NSF. From the patent:

This invention was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ECD-8907068. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#46963245)

My own version of the preferred policy would be that publicly funded research should be patentable, but the patent royalties must be plowed back into research (not e.g. personal enrichment of the professors).

I think in many cases allowing universities to patent things produces a nice synergy between research and commercialization, which absent patents would result in a lot more use of trade secrets to try to accomplish the same effect. For example, Stanford invented a bunch of early synthesizer hardware; Yamaha licensed it and commercialized it; the royalties from those patents have supported continued research at Stanford's CCRMA [stanford.edu] . Without patents to help mediate that transaction, you'd have one of: 1) CCRMA tries to build its own synth and get into the hardware business themselves; 2) CCRMA keeps the methods secret and tries to sell them to a synth manufacturer; 3) Yamaha uses them for free, getting a windfall while CCRMA doesn't get anything. I don't think any of those situations would be better.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963309)

I guess Lockheed Martin should have to give up their patents too by your bullshit ideas.

Re:Taxpayer subsidized? (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#46963759)

Tax-funded research should be in the public domain.

Well, the patent actually states this:

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

This invention was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ECD-8907068. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.

Regardless, the public isn't getting any of that money.

beware falling gargoyles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962975)

first there was monkeys then there was virgins? hymenologists' quandry? all things made by man fail,, rock on /. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0iOwipLvxQ

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963075)

too bad the big banks aren't hit with fines this big or 100 times this big.

Re:wow (2)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#46963181)

Yes, $1.5B is quite big. Did Marvell make that much profit selling just the infringing chip? How exactly are damages calculated?

Re:wow (4, Informative)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46963399)

Briefly from CMU's FAQ [cmu.edu] :

The size of the award was based on an analysis by Catharine M. Lawton, an intellectual property damages expert who testified on behalf of CMU during the trial along with CMU's technical and industry experts. Ms. Lawton applied several commonly used and court approved methods of determining an appropriate royalty for Marvell's infringement in patent cases. Ms. Lawton's analysis rested on a comparison of Marvell's business and economic circumstances both before and after it started to infringe. Her opinion and application of these accepted methods were based on a detailed analysis of the facts and financial records in the case, as well as the testimony of Dr. Steven McLaughlin, CMU's digital signal processing expert, and Dr. Chris Bajorek, CMU's expert in the hard disk drive industry.

Marvell earned an average revenue of $4.42 per chip and made an average operating profit of $2.16 for each of the more than 2 billion chips sold over more than a decade. Based upon her analysis of all the facts, Ms. Lawton determined that the proper value of the CMU invention was $.50 per chip.

Re:wow (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 7 months ago | (#46963501)

Based upon her analysis of all the facts, Ms. Lawton determined that the proper value of the CMU invention was $.50 per chip.

Must have been one blockbuster of an invention to deserve 25% of the chip's profits. The invention was probably less than 5% of the chip's functionality, perhaps less. Even with penalties & lawsuit costs applied, how is it fair to eat a large chunk of the product's profit?

Re:wow (4, Informative)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46963523)

You should really just read the whole FAQ.

Basically Marvell desperately need the invention after trying and failing to come up with something that could do the same thing. CMU offered to license it to them. They declined, and then used it anyway. It completely turned around their drive business. So, only 25% of the profits for willful infringement of critical technology that they could have licensed for much less if they'd played fair back in the day doesn't really seem too bad to me.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46968645)

Apparently they are 'assuming' that no one else added value to the chips "its all CMU and nothing else". So all the other in-company developments are zeroed, all the other developers get nothing, and CMU gets the lot. The US patent system is batshit crazy.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963291)

Too bad Clinton doesn't get hit with a fine this big for making what the banks did perfectly legal.

patent whore (0)

AndyKron (937105) | about 7 months ago | (#46963083)

I thought Carnegie Mellon was a school, not a patent whore.

Remeber when... (1, Flamebait)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 months ago | (#46963187)

Universities were places of teaching and learning, rather than patent-generating sporting-team franchises?

Re:Remeber when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963259)

Indeed. These patents are probably some kind of RAMBUS-like bullcrap too; patenting some previously unused-in-the-field technique that would be obvious to a domain expert with the same set of initial information, but non-obvious to a bunch of laymen (judge + jury)... :-(

Re:Remeber when... (1)

santiago (42242) | about 7 months ago | (#46963435)

Hey now! CMU doesn't have any sports teams of note! They do make up for it in patents, though.

CMU has the right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963485)

But if CMU wins outright, it will be a clear sign to corporations that using academia as it's main R&D "arm" is bad for business...

That's considering nearly every Fortune 500 company uses the Google model: partner with a University (or multiples) and cut corporate R&D to zero while leveraging academia. Problem is academia research has a conflict of interest with corporations and the university system and stuff that comes out of Universities are so half-baked they'll always be in perpetual beta.

Again, if CMU wins, I see the tide turning back to corporate R&D. Forewarned folks....

Re:CMU has the right (1)

demontechie (180612) | about 7 months ago | (#46963581)

But if CMU wins outright, it will be a clear sign to corporations that using academia as it's main R&D "arm" is bad for business...

This is only the case where corprorations try to cheat academia. Marvell had the option ~10 years ago to license the tech from CMU. They said no and used it anyway.

The Actual Patent (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 7 months ago | (#46963609)

The link to the actual patent -> http://www.google.com/patents/US6438180 [google.com]

It is very hard to tell what is going on in the patent. Seems like it is an method inside an error correcting algorithm for hard drives. Error correcting is statistical in hard disks and it seems like they found a new method for some error correlation for turbo codes. I'm not an expert in this field so I don't know how much of an impact this had on error coding.

The present invention is directed to a method of determining branch metric values in a detector. The method includes receiving a plurality of time variant signal samples, the signal samples having one of signal-dependent noise, correlated noise, and both signal dependent and correlated noise associated therewith. The method also includes selecting a branch metric function at a certain time index and applying the selected function to the signal samples to determine the metric values. The present invention represents a substantial advance over prior sequence detectors. Because the present invention takes into account the correlation between noise samples in the readback signal, the detected data sequence is detected with a higher degree of accuracy. Those advantages and benefits of the present invention, and others, will become apparent from the Detailed Description of the Invention hereinbelow.

Public Funding (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46964081)

Why are schools allowed to take taxpayer money to develop technologies that they can then prevent the taxpayers using for their benefit later?

If taxpayers pay for it, taxpayers should own it. That was the argument for the GM bailout, and that argument should be acceptable for all recipients of federal funding, including every single University research project in the country.

Obviously a front (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 7 months ago | (#46964819)

This transaction is obviously a cover for S.H.I.E.L.D. to fund certain research at CMU.

The case involves chip technology .. (1)

lippydude (3635849) | about 7 months ago | (#46964949)

'The case involves chip technology that "significantly improves" the ability of drives to more accurately detect data stored on spinning disk platters. CMU originally applied for the patents in 1997'

Did Marvell reverse engineer Carnegies' drives, if not what exactly is Carnegie claiming ownership of. Could anyone produce the same improvements without taking a look at the Carnegie patents. Personally, I've seen may circuits appearing in electronic magazines that have subsequently appeared in patent applications. A brief perusal of the Carnegie patent looks to be like an error-correction and noise cancellation circuit.

Re:The case involves chip technology .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46965807)

The key to their 'invention' is that they are applying a correlation model that exists in a channel with memory, and then applying that to the soft decision matrix of a fedback (turbo) viterbi decoder. It may sound complicated to the layman, but this is simply a combination of a couple of existing techniques with a specific implementation that the guys at CMU have put forward. There are other ways of doing this with equivalent performance, eg. using different but equally capable algorithms or parameters.

As an implementation, I can see it being granted a patent at that most detailed level. And on the surface this is definitely not a 'bad' patent in as much as it does go to a lot of detail describing a specific method that is definitely unique. Although I find it dubious that a patent was granted for such a small evolutionary increment (or more realistically parallel developments) to what was being done in the art at the time, especially so for the more general claims.

I worked with satellite communications systems in the late eighties / early nineties, and even then, prior to the advent of turbo codes, we were talking about using these techniques based on existing encoders. Viterbi was standard fare back then, and the main limits to using long code lengths and feedback loops were keeping the power usage and physical size down (which were at the limits of technology at the time).

As technology progressed, those techniques became feasible, but by then weren't really anything new. They were well understood concepts that were regularly thrown around at design meetings and always got put on hold due to implementation costs (ie. lack of suitable technology at the time). Channel memory wasn't a new thing, and although we were limited in the amount of processing power we could apply to the problem, we still did as much as we could to resist correlated 'noise' and interference.

Therefore, there is every chance that CMU are suing over some sub-claim that was standard practice for years before this patent was applied for. Once the lawyers get involved, it costs huge amounts of money and effort to find properly documented evidence to limit claims and cut down a patent. I can harp on about 'obviousness' till the cows come home, but that doesn't seem to matter these days, as the vast majority of patents would be obvious to most people with domain knowledge in the area of the patent.

Most patents are a hindrance to development, and the world would be a better place if they never existed. This is one of those patents that describes a technique that if never disclosed, would still have been parallel 'invented' with an equivalent (although not necessarily identical) implementation.

Got really excited reading the title (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 7 months ago | (#46966765)

until I realized that CMU had not, in fact, developed an iron man suit, or anything else in the Marvel comics movies.

Pfft Football? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46969117)

As CMU gets handled on the pitch, the crowd cheerfully jeers " that's alright, that's ok, we're gonna be your boss someday" hahah.

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