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TiVo awarded patent related to commercial detection

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by drebbe, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Dish ripped them off, plain and simple. They were in talks to do a deal, TiVo gave them a prototype in good faith, and then dish just stole the hardware design and did it themselves.

    Also just because something seems obvious after the fact doesn't mean it's not patentable. There are a ton of "obvious" ideas that are patented. Netfix has a patent on their queue, Amazon has a patent on "one click" purchasing, and Gemstar has a patent on electronic programming guides. The whole purpose of patents is to protect ideas, no matter how simple they seem after the fact or how easy to copy.
     
  2. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    You mean the patent system is broken because of those examples of completely ridiculous patents that were granted?
     
  3. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    You've just rendered all your comments on this topic irrelevant because you clearly don't understand what TiVo patented or why it's important.
     
  4. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    No. At the time they were filed those ideas were unique. They may seem obvious now, but at the time the patents were filed the ideas were unique and gave a competitive advantage to their respective companies. If we don't allow even the simplest ideas to be patented then big corporations, with all their resources, will simply steal all the good ideas for themselves and it would be almost impossible for a startup to make it.

    Sure patents are abused by some people. Just like all systems are abused and manipulated. But in the grand scheme of things I still think the patent system, as-is, is better then nothing.
     
  5. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Much of the patent system is ridiculous. All software patents should be eliminated, as should all business process or process patents. I kind of see it for some mechanical devices, but even then, it's a tough sell.
     
  6. ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Active Member

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    If you go with that line of thinking then there is no motivation to create something that doesn't exist if there is no way to protect yourself.
     
  7. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Software can be copyrighted. It should not be able to be patented, because it makes no sense. Business processes just shouldn't be patentable at all. That doesn't really make sense either.
     
  8. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The cod itself can be copyrighted, but that doesn't protect the functionality of the software. If you come up with software that does something truly unique, that has never been thought of before, a copyright wont protect you from someone simply reverse engineering it and releasing another product that does the exact same thing. Patents do.
     
  9. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    That's why software shouldn't be patentable. It has opened up a whole can of worms that shouldn't be there for software.
     
  10. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    How is designing something unique in code any different then designing a new chemical combination for a drug? Both are patentable, as they should be. If it weren't for the patent system no one would spend the money on R&D because as soon as they released something new there would be a dozen other companies who'd just rip them off and undercut them. Patents help progress by giving companies exclusive rights for a limited amount of time so that they can recoup their R&D costs.

    Now are they sometimes abused? Of course. But I still think it's better then the alternative.
     
  11. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

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    I think this would be outstanding functionality to implement... I am not sure why all the negative posts!

    Can you imagine being able to watch a recorded show directly from your TiVo and it automatically fast forwards through (or skips) the commercials?

    Oh, I can do this with video redoo... So whatÂ… You have to download the show, run it through whatever process you have set up and then re-upload to show.... I can do it too, but like most - I don't.

    The question is, will TiVo actually implement this functionality?

    If you asked me a few years ago I would have said unlikely - I think they would have been worried about litigation from the content owners, but the Hopper seems to be blazing that trail.

    I am still a little concerned that the relationship with MSO's might keep the functionality from being implemented - but I suppose they could disable the capability from the MSO version of the software.

    I want it - I encourage TiVo to continue being creative... And when they find something unique, they should patent it and profit from their investment.
     
  12. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Software is like a book. You can't patent a type of book. You can copyright what you write. Software patents are a nightmare, and should be completely eliminated. Code would still be protected by copyright.

    I doubt the MSOs would have an issue with it- if anything it would be a big competitive edge for them.

    TiVo can't patent commercial skipping, as it's already been done.
     
  13. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That's not really true. Video games are kind of like books or movies and would probably be sufficiently protected by copyright. However most software is utilitarian in nature and designed to preform a specific task, so it's more like a physical invention. A copyright only protects the physical code, not the functionality of that code. If you want to protect the actual functionality then you have to get a patent.
     
  14. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

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    Agreed, but you can patent a unique mechanism for identifying commercials - as this patent appears to do.
     
  15. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Active Member

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    Or to pull an example from the dawn of powered flight - you can't patent airplanes banking, but you can patent a unique mechanism to make them bank. As the Wright Brothers did with their wing warping patent. Then many people worked around it by using ailerons for roll control.

    (Of course it was messier than that, since the Wright Brothers repeatedly sued because of some IMHO overly broad claims in their patent - basically laying claim to all additional, unspecified, methods of manipulating some or all of an airplane's wings in order to achieve lateral roll control)

    And in that case ailerons turned out to be a more useful design than what was described in that original patent. :D
     
  16. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    BS. You shouldn't be able to monopolize a functionality, as long as someone else does it without stealing your code.

    That's the problem with our BS patent system. The more and more I think about it, the more I think we should just get rid of the darn thing!
     
  17. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

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    I wonder... If you spent years of time and money pouring yourself into a unique idea - and when you were finally ready to present it to the world all the big boys said.... yeah good idea we can do that too!

    All your time, all you effort, all your passion and investment and someone else gets rewarded for that work.

    Yeah your correct, lets get rid of the patent system - makes no sense.
     
  18. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Exactly! Without patents the big companies would just steal all the best ideas for themselves and small companies would never be able to get ahead.

    This happened to my father when he was about my age. He was a parts manager for a Toyota/Mazda dealership. He came up with some sort of booklet that made it much easier for his guys to find part numbers. (before everything was computerized) It was actually so useful he started making them for the other dealers around town and started a small business from it. A year or so later Mazda corporation found out about it and told him that were interested in doing a deal with him. However he hadn't patented the idea and as soon as they found that out they just stole his idea and started producing them on their own. The rest of the manufacturers followed shortly after and his business went under. Now it's his fault he didn't patent the idea, but if there were no patent system at all then this sort of thing would happen constantly. Every little inventor with a great idea would just get steam rolled by a bigger company with more money.

    I know that they can be abused, but for the most part patents are intended to protect the little guy. Without them there would be almost no incentive to develop a unique idea again and progress would stall.
     
  19. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    A system which is comparable to nuclear war and MAD does NOT protected the little guy. It makes it impossible to be the little guy. In today's world, companies have to have massive patent portfolios to release many products, as no matter what you do in many product categories, you will infringe a ton of ridiculous patents. But it's OK if you have a zillion patents of your own that your competitors are infringing, as you can just sit there on the brink of war and know that you're safe because of MAD. It also drives up the value of large companies just for patent portfolios, so that a big part of M&A is patent portfolios, not the actual business. Patents are a rotten and corrupting influence, and stifle innovation.
     
  20. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    And without them there would be no incentive to innovate because every new idea would immediately be ripped off and there would be no way to recoup R&D investment. Why spend money on R&D when you can just wait for someone else to invent something and then just rip them off? And why spend money on R&D when you know everyone else is just going to rip you off and undercut you? It's a huge catch 22.
     

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