Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cell Plus Sues Cingular Over Ringback Ad Patent. Worst. Idea. Ever.

I've been reading Stephen King's book "Cell." For those
who have not read it, the plot involves a "pulse" transmitted through all of the world's cell phones, turning anyone who has a cell phone to their ear, first into a homicidal maniac and then into a telepathic zombie. Ever since I started it, I keep giving my own cell phone sideways looks, waiting for the thing to turn on me.

I can only assume that the folks at Perceptive Impressions have read the same book and are desperately trying to keep everyone from using what one character in the book calls the "devil's intercom." This outfit has, I kid you not, patented technology which will permit cell phone companies to force you to listen to advertising when someone else's phone is "ringing" -- what, in the trade is called a ringback tone. As all sane cell phone users will immediately abandon their phones, crushing them under their feet upon being subjected to this unnecessary torture, we will all be saved from the fate of the unlucky "phone crazies" in King's book.

Indeed, Perceptive Impression appears to know something the rest of us don't know about the dangers of the internet if its extremely annoying website is any gauge.

In any event, Perceptive Impressions, through its subsidiary, Ring Plus (located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills) has sued Cingular for infringing its patent on this life-affirming idea. It appears that Perceptive Technology may be a troll, however, as its press release announcing the action ominously notes that the music industry may also be "possible targets for infringement litigation."

Scanner Technologies Blasts the nVidia Pixie! Clap If You Believe in Ball Grid Arrays!

New Mexico-based Scanner Technologies Scanner Technologies has announced that it has sued graphics card manufacturer nVidia for infringement of its patents on "methods of three-dimensional inspection" to allow more efficient manufacture of ball grid array devices. Ball grid arrays being evidently a more advanced method of packaging integrated circuits used in graphics cards. Why Scanner chose to go after this cute winged CGI demo is unknown, but we are awaiting the next lawsuit against Cap'n Hook and the Lost Boys.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bally Wants "Great Balls of Cash" from IGT in Slot Machine Patent Battle

Not wasting a second to take the next shot in its never-ending patent battle with IGT, Bally has sued its rival for infringing its "Indicator wheel system" patent the very day it was issued -- natch, in the District of Nevada. These companies, who seem to enjoy these battles, have been suing each other back and forth for years. Indeed, IGT's "20 monumental ideas in the history of the slot machine" cites not one but two critical Bally stumbles in establishing a slots portfolio: Bally's failure to patent video poker and allowing IGT to steal the stepper motor patent for virtual reel slot machines from under its nose.

Stay tuned as these behemoths ratchet up the game another notch.

What I found odd about this story was that the infringing slot machines included games I had never even dreamed existed -- a Regis Philbin game, "Drew Carey Great Balll of Cash," and most disturbingly a Dilbert slot entitled "Dilbert Wheelbert!"

What's next? Dubya's White House Casino?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tag, You're It! RFID World Takes on the World -- Or, At Least Wal-Mart's Part of It

In what may be the beginning of the "RFID Wars," a small company called RFID World, whose business appears to be owning U.S. Patent No. 6,967,563 -- "Inventory Control System" -- is taking on the world of RFID users. RFID World has brought suit against Wal-Mart, Gillette, Michelin, Home Depot, Target and Pfizer in (surprise!) the Eastern District of Texas for these companies' use of those tiny "tags" used for, among other things, inventory control. Although Bormaster's patent lists as embodiments such pedestrian uses as finding a golf club removed from a bag, or locating a lost cow, he now apparently sees an opportunity in suing everyone who may be using this technology in any form. Although there is some controversy as to whether he may have prior art problems, his attorneys are confident that he may have filed early enough and broadly enough to "tag" the entire retail industry.

Hey, it worked for Jerry Lemelson -- why not here?