Re: Kassan: A.I. Gone Awry

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2006 - 19:12:48 MST

Philip Goetz wrote:
> Good lord. I yahoo'ed for "Peter Kassan", and high on the list was
> this horrible horrible software patent he has, filed in 1999. It
> appears to cover any archiving of computer files:
> US 6,889,376 B1
> Method for migrating from one computer to another
> 1. A method for migrating a user's software programs from a first to a
> second computer, the method comprising the steps of:
> identifying on the first computer, software products having software
> product files and product data files requiring to be prepared for
> future migration;
> packing the software product files and the product data files in a
> manner that enables them to be moved at a future point in time to the
> second computer, based on the identifying step previously executed;
> operating the first computer in accordance with a general purpose
> thereof including by running the software product files or generating
> associated user files after the packing in the first computer;
> further including storing data files changes and/or control
> information changes generated by running the software products on the
> first computer and additionally packing the changes for use on the
> second computer;
> moving the previously packed software product files and the product
> data files without using cloning to the second computer, except for
> files that are manually excluded, said moving of files being carried
> out without resorting to examining or considering all files of said
> first computer including those that are not associated with said
> identified software products being prepared for future migration; and
> unpacking the moved software product files and the product data files
> onto the second computer.

Yup: software patents are truly ridiculous.

To get a software patent, think of a vague idea for doing [substitute
totally vague idea here], and then write a patent that lists all the
ways that data can move from A to B, and stipulate that if someone moves
data like that, and the data was moved while it was being used for
[substitute vague idea here], then it infringes your patent. Works
like a dream.

I once developed an idea for using some technology to let people wander
around a worldwide shared virtual universe, rather like Gibson's
cyberspace. Guess what? Sony owns the patent on any technique that you
happen to use to have any kind of worldwide shared 3D space! They don't
say how to do it, they don't give eny technological details, they
basically just say "If you move data around on the internet and it is
intended as a part of a 3D shared virtual world that everyone on the
planet is sharing, you are infringing our patent." The vast bulk of the
patent was just a list of all the different ways that data could move

The Sony patent came long after Neuromancer, so you'd think it would be
void. But do I have the money to point this out to Sony's attorneys in
court? Not me, no sirree.

Richard Loosemore

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