February 22, 2006 12:28 PM PST

Company claims patent win in online rich media

Internet design company Balthaser announced Tuesday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted it a patent for the design and creation of rich-media services over the Internet.

According to information on the Patent Office's Web site, this patent covers "methods, systems and processes for the design and creation of rich-media applications via the Internet."

According to a summary of the patent, "the present invention relates to the method of providing users with the ability to create rich-media applications via the Internet."

Balthaser apparently intends to license the patent to companies that deliver rich-media services over the Web using technologies such as Adobe Systems' Flash, AJAX and Java.

"This new addition to our patent portfolio is a pioneering patent and provides significant licensing opportunities for both Balthaser and our licensees," Neil Balthaser, chief executive officer of the company, said in a statement.

"The patent covers all rich-media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, AJAX and XAML and all device footprints which access rich-media Internet applications including desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes and video game consoles," Balthaser added. "Balthaser will be able to provide licenses for almost any rich-media Internet application across a broad range of devices and networks."

Adobe, one of the market leaders in the rich-media space, is expected to respond to Balthaser's patent award on Thursday.

It's possible that Balthaser may struggle to enforce its patent, because of prior art--the process where a patent is invalid if it can be proven that the innovation in question already existed before the patent was filed.

Balthaser filed its patent application on Feb. 9, 2001. But back in 1999, a company called Javu Technologies launched a product called VideoFarm that allowed PC users to create and manage multimedia content over the Internet.

Bola Rotibi, a senior analyst at Ovum, suggested that the award of the patent to Balthaser should focus attention on the issue of software patents.

"Balthaser's patent awards, and its consequences for leading players, demonstrates both the good and bad of software patents," Rotibi said.

"Players such as Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, to name but a few, are making significant investments in rich Internet and interactive technology," Rotibi added. "Many are placing bets that this technology, in conjunction with handheld device proliferation and embedded technology, is the gateway to a market that sees a convergence between consumer, workplace and appliance interactions. This is a defining market--not unlike the effect the PC had for Microsoft--and the bedrock of future software applications."

Graeme Wearden and Rupert Goodwins of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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30 comments

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Great more royalties to pay...
Why does this not sound good? Now Balthaser will control the interactive media for the internet and other devices by pushing licensing and royalties on these technologies.

"The patent covers all rich-media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, AJAX and XAML and all device footprints which access rich-media Internet applications including desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes and video game consoles,"

This seems like too broad a patent for one sole company to have. Looks like a strangle hold on technologies if I'm reading the article right. I hope someone challenges this.
Posted by inthenews (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great more royalties to pay...
Why does this not sound good? Now Balthaser will control the interactive media for the internet and other devices by pushing licensing and royalties on these technologies.

"The patent covers all rich-media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, AJAX and XAML and all device footprints which access rich-media Internet applications including desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes and video game consoles,"

This seems like too broad a patent for one sole company to have. Looks like a strangle hold on technologies if I'm reading the article right. I hope someone challenges this.
Posted by inthenews (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad For The Internet
This is an example of the blatant greed that some companies have by exploiting the works of others and claiming that the underlying technology is their own. Something should be done about this. A review of the software patent issue should be done. Patents, if used this way, can halt/slow down innovation.
Posted by ajdv (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad For The Internet
This is an example of the blatant greed that some companies have by exploiting the works of others and claiming that the underlying technology is their own. Something should be done about this. A review of the software patent issue should be done. Patents, if used this way, can halt/slow down innovation.
Posted by ajdv (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Patent the obvious
These clowns applied to patent something obvious and the fools at the patent office granted it!?!

Perhaps firing a few people at the Patent Office would be in order so that the rest would start doing their job. I know they complain about the load but when they aren't doing their job at all then they need to be thrown out.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Patent the obvious
These clowns applied to patent something obvious and the fools at the patent office granted it!?!

Perhaps firing a few people at the Patent Office would be in order so that the rest would start doing their job. I know they complain about the load but when they aren't doing their job at all then they need to be thrown out.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Overhyped patent
If you read the patent (the Background and Summary sections) you will see they are not claiming to patent the use of general multimedia technologies (Flash, Java, etc), but instead the use of a specific centrally-hosted "Tool" to create websites using these technologies. Apparently this design company built or are in the process of building an application to allow novices to design multimedia rich sites. They are patenting their product, and hoping to license the product to other companies. No one is going to license their tool, IMHO.

From the patenet:
"The present invention relates to the method of providing users with the ability to create rich-media applications via the Internet. In a specific embodiment, users may access a host website supplying the ability to create rich-media applications, examine the available product set, and construct a rich-media application on the host website. In a specific embodiment, the host website enables the user to modify an existing rich-media application on the host website. "

The company spokesman overhyped their patent win, and News.com picked up on it.
Posted by foobarban (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now you tell me!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.the-earchives.com/wavs/11KHz/f/3b9413144a983c5a/ftrama173.wav" target="_newWindow">http://www.the-earchives.com/wavs/11KHz/f/3b9413144a983c5a/ftrama173.wav</a>
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
Still an abstract patent
It's still a patent of an abstract idea, so preventing anyone one else even trying to solve the problem it solves without infringing.

Patents work for hardware because a hardware patent is like computer copyright. You can patent your implementation of Corkscrew, but you can't patent the abstract concept of "Opening a bottle of wine". At least you couldn't before software patents came along.

Software patents are too broad. They can kill off competition by locking up whole problem domains. File format patents, a relative, allow complete vendor lockin to file formats and prevent the computer equivalent of the "Generic Spare Parts" market. Imagine what costs you'd have to pay if that market didn't exist in the physical world.
Posted by bugmenot (10 comments )
Link Flag
Overhyped patent
If you read the patent (the Background and Summary sections) you will see they are not claiming to patent the use of general multimedia technologies (Flash, Java, etc), but instead the use of a specific centrally-hosted "Tool" to create websites using these technologies. Apparently this design company built or are in the process of building an application to allow novices to design multimedia rich sites. They are patenting their product, and hoping to license the product to other companies. No one is going to license their tool, IMHO.

From the patenet:
"The present invention relates to the method of providing users with the ability to create rich-media applications via the Internet. In a specific embodiment, users may access a host website supplying the ability to create rich-media applications, examine the available product set, and construct a rich-media application on the host website. In a specific embodiment, the host website enables the user to modify an existing rich-media application on the host website. "

The company spokesman overhyped their patent win, and News.com picked up on it.
Posted by foobarban (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now you tell me!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.the-earchives.com/wavs/11KHz/f/3b9413144a983c5a/ftrama173.wav" target="_newWindow">http://www.the-earchives.com/wavs/11KHz/f/3b9413144a983c5a/ftrama173.wav</a>
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
Still an abstract patent
It's still a patent of an abstract idea, so preventing anyone one else even trying to solve the problem it solves without infringing.

Patents work for hardware because a hardware patent is like computer copyright. You can patent your implementation of Corkscrew, but you can't patent the abstract concept of "Opening a bottle of wine". At least you couldn't before software patents came along.

Software patents are too broad. They can kill off competition by locking up whole problem domains. File format patents, a relative, allow complete vendor lockin to file formats and prevent the computer equivalent of the "Generic Spare Parts" market. Imagine what costs you'd have to pay if that market didn't exist in the physical world.
Posted by bugmenot (10 comments )
Link Flag
Patenting Standards...right
Nice to see the patent office sleeping on the job again. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rubber stamp patent grant on boolean logic one of these days.
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Boolean logic has been patented
&gt;I wouldn't be surprised to see a rubber stamp patent grant on
boolean logic one of these days.

It has already been done. Look up the Cadtrack XOR patent. "An
XOR feature allows a selective erase that restores lines crossing
or concurrent with erased lines. The XOR feature permits part of
the drawing to be moved or "dragged" into place without erasing
other parts of the drawing."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?" target="_newWindow">http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?</a>
Sect1=PTO1&#38;Sect2=HITOFF&#38;d=PALL&#38;p=1&#38;u=/netahtml/
srchnum.htm&#38;r=1&#38;f=G&#38;l=50&#38;s1=4,197,590.WKU.&#38;OS=PN/
4,197,590&#38;RS=PN/4,197,590
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
Patenting Standards...right
Nice to see the patent office sleeping on the job again. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rubber stamp patent grant on boolean logic one of these days.
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Boolean logic has been patented
&gt;I wouldn't be surprised to see a rubber stamp patent grant on
boolean logic one of these days.

It has already been done. Look up the Cadtrack XOR patent. "An
XOR feature allows a selective erase that restores lines crossing
or concurrent with erased lines. The XOR feature permits part of
the drawing to be moved or "dragged" into place without erasing
other parts of the drawing."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?" target="_newWindow">http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?</a>
Sect1=PTO1&#38;Sect2=HITOFF&#38;d=PALL&#38;p=1&#38;u=/netahtml/
srchnum.htm&#38;r=1&#38;f=G&#38;l=50&#38;s1=4,197,590.WKU.&#38;OS=PN/
4,197,590&#38;RS=PN/4,197,590
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
enuf already
this patent b.s. is rediculous. I no longer believe in software patents. What a mess.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
enuf already
this patent b.s. is rediculous. I no longer believe in software patents. What a mess.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Couldn't be much of a new idea...
Claiming to be able to remotely create content, even through a web site, doesn't seem to be a new idea at all.

Products such as Remote Desktop, Citrix, PC-Anywhere, and VNC have existed for years, and at least part of these have allowed remote audio editing, file transfering, and remote video editing. Even if you take the wording 'through a web site' Citrix and Remote Desktop each have an active-x module, that would allow a user to remote-connect to a server via an active-x web page to perform the editing, and still pull local desktop files up to the editing server.

I think even Yahoo's GeoCities allowed some forms of media editing remotely, at least the posting of media remotely through their online web page editors.

Think of the web sites that allow creating personal e-cards. These sites allow you to customize the content of a rich-media site, and the URL of your content is then sent on to the person you intended the e-card to go to. These sites let you pick from pre-created audio, flash, and insert your own custom text and pictures.

The Patent system needs a significant overhaul. Perhaps a penalty system where if you file a patent, and obvious prior art is found, then a penalty has to be paid. Proving even obvious prior art for a penalty might be hard to do, but might at least it would set some risk for the patent holder who doesn't think first before filing. If only there was a way to force the patent filer to research prior art on the patent before filing.
Posted by JDinKC (303 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Couldn't be much of a new idea...
Claiming to be able to remotely create content, even through a web site, doesn't seem to be a new idea at all.

Products such as Remote Desktop, Citrix, PC-Anywhere, and VNC have existed for years, and at least part of these have allowed remote audio editing, file transfering, and remote video editing. Even if you take the wording 'through a web site' Citrix and Remote Desktop each have an active-x module, that would allow a user to remote-connect to a server via an active-x web page to perform the editing, and still pull local desktop files up to the editing server.

I think even Yahoo's GeoCities allowed some forms of media editing remotely, at least the posting of media remotely through their online web page editors.

Think of the web sites that allow creating personal e-cards. These sites allow you to customize the content of a rich-media site, and the URL of your content is then sent on to the person you intended the e-card to go to. These sites let you pick from pre-created audio, flash, and insert your own custom text and pictures.

The Patent system needs a significant overhaul. Perhaps a penalty system where if you file a patent, and obvious prior art is found, then a penalty has to be paid. Proving even obvious prior art for a penalty might be hard to do, but might at least it would set some risk for the patent holder who doesn't think first before filing. If only there was a way to force the patent filer to research prior art on the patent before filing.
Posted by JDinKC (303 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I patent PC cellphones.
All cellphones that take on PC functions need to pay me for royalties.

Contact me and I can give you your payment options.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I patent PC cellphones.
All cellphones that take on PC functions need to pay me for royalties.

Contact me and I can give you your payment options.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Patent lunacy
The US Patent Office once again issues a patent for the obvious, ignoring prior art, and setting off a new wave of patent lawsuits. The USPTO is severely undermanned to handle the deluge of patent applications that are increasingly complex and technical. This quote from Balthaser makes me want to vomit;

"The patent covers all rich-media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, AJAX and XAML and all device footprints which access rich-media Internet applications including desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes and video game consoles," Balthaser added. "Balthaser will be able to provide licenses for almost any rich-media Internet application across a broad range of devices and networks."

The message to software developers at big companies is clear. Patent everything you create, no matter how obvious or simple. The company can decide not to enforce the patent, but at least it will provide protection against other "patent trolls" who are always trying to extort money.

I wrote a blog on this subject today. get the full story at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/02/don_dodge_daily.html" target="_newWindow">http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/02/don_dodge_daily.html</a>
Posted by Don_Dodge (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Patent lunacy
The US Patent Office once again issues a patent for the obvious, ignoring prior art, and setting off a new wave of patent lawsuits. The USPTO is severely undermanned to handle the deluge of patent applications that are increasingly complex and technical. This quote from Balthaser makes me want to vomit;

"The patent covers all rich-media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, AJAX and XAML and all device footprints which access rich-media Internet applications including desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes and video game consoles," Balthaser added. "Balthaser will be able to provide licenses for almost any rich-media Internet application across a broad range of devices and networks."

The message to software developers at big companies is clear. Patent everything you create, no matter how obvious or simple. The company can decide not to enforce the patent, but at least it will provide protection against other "patent trolls" who are always trying to extort money.

I wrote a blog on this subject today. get the full story at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/02/don_dodge_daily.html" target="_newWindow">http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/02/don_dodge_daily.html</a>
Posted by Don_Dodge (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I have a few words to say.
1) NeXT
2) NeXTStep
3) Enterprise Objects (now Web Objects)
4) 1991 &#38; 1992

'Nuf said.
Posted by dsbeerf (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I have a few words to say.
1) NeXT
2) NeXTStep
3) Enterprise Objects (now Web Objects)
4) 1991 &#38; 1992

'Nuf said.
Posted by dsbeerf (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don'This is not AJAX...
I read their patent on the USPTO site... This is NOT a
Posted by gpatnude (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don'This is not AJAX...
I read their patent on the USPTO site... This is NOT a
Posted by gpatnude (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't panic... This is NOT AJAX...
I read their patent on the USPTO site...

This is NOT Ajax -- this is some kind of stupid package that they wrote in Visual Basic that creates Flash Movies...

Sherman -- set the way back machine -- Remember when Macromedia came out with "Flash Remoting" and "Rich-Internet Apps" or RIA's ???
Posted by gpatnude (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't panic... This is NOT AJAX...
I read their patent on the USPTO site...

This is NOT Ajax -- this is some kind of stupid package that they wrote in Visual Basic that creates Flash Movies...

Sherman -- set the way back machine -- Remember when Macromedia came out with "Flash Remoting" and "Rich-Internet Apps" or RIA's ???
Posted by gpatnude (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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