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June 03, 2015


I see no charm in this third attempt.

Strike three.

"Prior to watching the video that you seek, you must first watch about 15 or 30 seconds of an advertisement."

But that's completely and totally different from having to flip past advertisements in order to read some content of interest, which was only one of the greatest innovations of the 1990s. Oops, I mean the 1890s. Oops I meant the 1790s.

Well, you know what I mean. The question is do people want more advertisements with their Internet content or not? And the answer is: of course they do, if they are true patriots.

I think I became bored about the third step of the quoted claim.

The patent has the following objects:
a) to provide a "money-less" way for young people (or anyone else) to legitimately obtain copyrighted intellectual property;
b) to provide a legitimate alternative to illegal and pirated practices of obtaining copyrighted intellectual property over a telecommunications network;
c) to provide copyright holders with a legitimate royalty source which is completely accountable;
d) to provide consumers with an assured quality copy of the original source;
e) to provide advertisers with a "captive audience," which may be of a certain demographic profile, for either a specified period of time or for a specified number of responses to advertisers' queries, yet respecting the privacy issues of the consumer;
f) to provide a more democratic business model for copyright holders who do not have major distribution outlets.

How is there anything remotely difficult associated with any of the above objects? Where is the problem to be overcome? What new and surprising result is obtained?

At an earlier stage in the proceedings, Timothy B. Lee of the Washington Post published an article under the headline: "One of the worst patents ever just got upheld in court." As he has a master's degree in computer science, it is at least arguable that his point of view merits consideration.


In its brief, Ultramercial states that a goal of the invention is to reduce piracy. As for the "difficult," "new," and "surprising" aspects, only one of these three is required by the patent statute.

Speaking as a computer scientist, some of my fellow CS graduates are responsible for a number of dreadfully misinformed statements about patent law. So I would not take the opinion of a person well-educated in CS too seriously unless they are also well-educated in patent law.


It occurs to me that some years ago John Cleese might have got a patent for his silly walk.

I am not aware that there was ever previously a comedy sketch tied specifically to a silly walk in the way devised by Cleese. It has novelty, ingenuity and utility. Applying the criteria in Hartranft v. Wiegmann, 121 U. S. 609, 121 U. S. 615 (1887) it has a distinctive name ("silly walk", now universally recognised in the UK and many other countries), character (you have only to watch a recording of the sketch) and use (satirical entertainment).

Can similarly meritorious qualities be discerned in U.S. Patent No. 7,346,545?


There were commercials in radio broadcasts in the 1930's to provide a way of paying for the performance without individual members of the public having to contribute. Is there ingenuity in checking that a commercial has been watched?

Whether the Ultramercial patent was obvious is not at issue in this case and never has been. The question before the courts is whether it is impermissibly abstract. While we have a fairly rigorous and mostly objective way of determining the former, not so with the latter. Thus, the current mess with Section 101.

Mr. Cole,

Not only may there be ingenuity there, but a certain oft-spoken Mega company by the name of Google built its modern day fortunes on that ingenuity.

It appears that you are diving headlong into the morass of conflating the different sections of law.

I expect better from you (and your descent into a non-useful arts example of comedic effects deserves to be ignored in toto).

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