The madness of process patents

When patents are filed and companies sued over basic packet processing and telephone features then it is time to call a stop to the madness. Vonage are being sued for 57 million dollars for the following patent infringements.
U.S. Patent 6,282,574 covers packet translation and how a service provider would encode IP packets so they can be ported over to the PSTN. It details the way addresses are processed on the domain name server by providing a name server for translating textual domain names into telephone numbers. The patent also describes how to support “name-to-address processing” on a name server based on specific parameters such as time, party or terminal making the request.
U.S. Patent 6,104,711, which Bell Atlantic filed for in 1997, covers how a carrier can support Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) features, typical in PSTN services for VoIP customers. These features include call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling. The patent maps out how the “enhanced Internet domain name server” allows the Internet to communicate with a separate AIN to support these features for VoIP customers.
The third patent — U.S. States Patent 6,359,880, which was applied for in 1999 — covers how public wireless and cordless Internet gateways communicate with the Internet. It falls under another business method patent that details a localized wireless gateway system.
The patent details how a local wireless gateway can be used to support VoIP calls. It describes how calls can be transferred from the Internet to a wireless gateway at a customer’s location to support the call on a Wi-Fi or other public domain wireless spectrum.


As part of my Phd research it was pointed out that I could patent some of the outputs of my research. I share the same view as Sarah Flannery however, when she won the young scientist in 1999 with her Cayley-purser algorithm she shocked the American media and American school kids when she announced that she wouldn’t patent her approach. Why because she wanted people to examine and if possible improve on her work.
Patents can be useful but patents on fundamental processes or features are ridiculous.
The full story is covered on network world

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