XSCapacity receives funding from Venture Farm

image Irvine based VentureFarm, an early stage venture fund, has invested in XSCapacity, an online marketplace that allows businesses to solicit competitive bids on the shipment of freight, directly from trucking companies.

XSCapacity makes it possible to utilize excess capacity in partially filled trucks that ply across the US every day. According to the company, this can result in savings for the shipper, not to mention the reduction of the environmental impact of empty or partially filled trucks moving across the country. According to Sid Mohasseb, managing partner of Venture Farm, “XSCapacity is the Priceline of the transportation industry”

XSCapacity is founded by CEO Steve Krubenski, who has a background in accounting and transportation, and Dave Dobbins who directs carrier operation and has 3 decades of experience in freight. Steve Krubenski and Dave Dobbins are associated with IBP corporation, a company that offers freight logistics support and technology through its product LTCQuickbid, which was rolled out in July of 2006. The group also operates other logistics websites such as XSTrailerspace.com.

 

Technorati Tags: xscapacity, IBP corporation, LTC quickbid, freight, logistics, trucking


How much copyright infringement have you done today?

riaa

A former colleague and a friend of mine, John Tehranina has written a nice article on the absurdities of some of the copyright laws.

You can read the whole article here, but the gist is that we have become an “Infringement Nation.” In a typical day, just by engaging in average activities, unwittingly, we infringe copyrights of others.

By following a typical day in a law professor’s life, he shows that even without using P2P, or downloading a single mp3, he has committed 83 acts of distinct infringement.

By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails, three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million.

… barring last minute salvation from the notoriously ambiguous fair
use defense, he would be liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a single act of infringement through P2P file sharing.

His conclusions are:

Such an outcome flies in the face of our basic sense of justice. Indeed, one must either irrationally conclude that John is a criminal infringer — a veritable grand larcenist — or blithely surmise that copyright law must not mean what it appears to say. Something is clearly amiss. Moreover, the troublesome gap between copyright law and norms has grown only wider in recent years.

Of course, his examples do not take in to account the established boundaries set by the “fair use” law and “implied license” laws, but the point is well taken.

One could argue that this is not really specific to copyright law, by driving over 65 MPH on the highway, John (John, the hypothetical law professor, not John Tehranian) probably breaks the law everyday.

I would go even further that by using his internet explorer, and by visiting a website and possibly joining the Facebok social network, he is probably infringing on several patents too.

Is that a reflection on how IP laws generally are and there is no inherent way to write them so that the line of infringement and non-infringement is clear?

I don’t think so, I think one generally relies on the laws and the judicially created exceptions to the laws to conduct one’s daily lives (in the case of copyright law - the doctrine of fair use) and interpret the scope and the boundaries established by the law. The exceptions to the written laws are, very often, created precisely to address the issues of the kind John points out.

I do not think that he infringed a copyright on emails sent to him by others by quoting the emails back to them. It would a be fair use and there may also be an implied license granted by the e-mail authors to John to use that email. One can analyze each one of his examples and I believe that most of them will fall within the fair-use and/or implied license and/or education purposes license realm.

But I can not agree with him more, in terms of the need for clarity in the law, and more importantly in the perception of the scope of the applicable law.

Via Slashdot .



Amazon One Click Patent is alive and clicking away - the saga continues.

amazon_one_clickWhen the patent office rejected all the claims of Amazon’s One Click Patent last month, the blogosphere rejoiced. But I knew better.

As an IP attorney, I know that when the patent office rejects a claim, that is just the starting point. You start from what the Patent Office rejected, review the reasons for the rejections and come up with creative way to rewrite your claims to get around the issues raised by the examiner. In fact, in my view, if the examiner doesn’t reject your claims, then your application was deficient, because it means that your claims weren’t broad enough.

In this case, the issues were even simpler. During the re-examination procedure, the patent office reviewed a lot of references and many old systems (referred to as Prior art) to find if the Amazon’s one-click was novel or not. The patent office found that some older systems had “one click” type features, and hence the Amazon claims, as written, were invalid.

However, when the Amazon’s claims for the One Click Patent were rejected, the patent examiner specifically said that if Amazon clarified the language of the claims, and very slightly narrowed them, the claims will be allowable and the patent will be reissued. And it seems Amazon did exactly that.

Here is the relevant part of the from the examiner’s comments (10/9/07):

uspto_amazon_one_click

And in response, Amazon modified the claims to (11/15/07):

new_claim_amazon

Which essentially says that:

  • your system needs to have a shopping cart module; and

  • a one click module; and

  • if somebody pushes the one-click buy button,

  • the system has to complete the transaction

  • without the use of the shopping cart module.

Before this change, the claim was a bit fuzzy. The examiner, appropriately, left an “out” by saying that a new search will need to be performed (11/15/07).

further search amazon_patent

So the saga continues; the patent is not dead - it is alive and clicking away.

Generally at this point, the patent office will typically grant the patent (or as in this case, finalize the re-examination proceedings) but this is not a typical patent. Even though I understand the reasons why the patent office allowed this patent, I equally understand the outrage this patent has generated.

What happens next? The reexamination request will continue within the patent office and at some point the patent office may issue another office action accepting the changes and reissuing the patent with a new number (typically starting with REXXXX) or the office may find additional references that have both shopping cart and one click systems to show that the patent is not-novel or it is obvious and may reject the claims of the patent. In that case, Amazon can appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and then to the Court of Appeals for Fed. Cir.

Can Amazon sue other website operators in the mean time? Absolutely yes. Once the patent goes through the reexamination process, it may lose some of its breadth but whatever remains is stronger and harder to attack. And of course, it is still a valid patent while it is going through this re-examination procedures.

After reviewing some of the documents, I am not as puzzled as to how this patent was granted. Even after extensive search and even a bounty of $40k+, there is nothing out there which shows a system where you can buy something with one click AND buy something using a shopping cart within the same system (the AND part is important).

Recently the Supreme Court came up with a broad definition of when an invention is “obvious” and not patentable. I expected the patent office to reject the One Click patent based on the new definition of obviousness, perhaps in the next office action!

I recently wrote about the patent auctions that raised $10M+. A couple of the patents sold of $1M+. So despite these esoteric patent office proceedings, the patents continue to have a real value, some times it comes from the underlying technology, sometimes it comes from being able to prevent your competitor from doing something, and other times the patents provide a perception of strength to others.

Happy thanksgiving. Let’s all just click away and get our Christmas shopping done.



Google is stronger than God! Will Google acquire God?

Here is the proof that the Google is better/stronger/more powerful than God and comments on Google acquiring God.

God Vs. Google:

God is omnipresent.* 1 Google is omnipresent. 1
God is omniscient.* 1 Google is omniscient. 1
God is omnipotent.* 1 Google is omnipotent. 1
God embodies
simplicity, timelessness, immutability, and impassibility.
*
.25 Google embodies simplicity, timelessness,
immutability, and impassibility.
.5
God is infinite. 1 Google is infinite. .5
God is generally considered benevolent. 1 Google is generally considered benevolent. 1
God lets you
(sometimes commands you) to kill other people in its name.
-10 You can find websites to hack using Google
and deface them, but no violence is tolerated.
1
God guides you when you don’t know what to
do.
1 Google guides you when you don’t know what
to do.
1
An intermediary, like a church, a temple, a
priest, a guru is helpful in reaching God.
0 An intermediary, like AT&T, Verizon,
Comcast, are helpful in reaching Google.
0
God made everything in
6 days and then rested.
0 Google has been working non-stop for many
years.
0.5
God creates a lot of new products in beta
and keeps them in beta for a long time.
0 Google creates a lot of products in beta and
keeps them in beta for a long time.
0
God uses Digg like voting to decide what new
functionality to add to the products (
some people call this process
evolution, but it has clearly been copied from the Digg concept. Each
offspring equals one vote.)
1 Google uses some
internal secret methods to release new products and decide what
functionality/features to add and when.
0
God has an affiliate program where you get
paid if bring more people to join (but the payment is in some dubious,
after life currency.)
0.5 You get paid in real money if you bring more
people to Google.
0.5
God is random at times. 0.5 Google is random at times. 0.5
If you ever cross him/her, God is the
prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner.
-1 If you ever cross her, Google is the
prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner.
-1
If you send a prayer message to God, he doesn’t
always listen to it. Most of the times your prayers
are ignored.
-1 If you send a message to Google, Google
doesn’t always listen or read your messages. Most of the time the
requests are ignored.
-1
It is hard to find
God. He doesn’t even own God.com or God.net or God.org.+
0 Easy to find Google. Try Google in any
country. Also Google.org offers even more love to its subjects by doing
philanthropic work.
0.5
If you pray to God, he
never affirmatively acknowledges your prayers.
0 Google always sends an (automated)
acknowledgment of your prayers/requests. Even though the outcome is the
same as praying to God.
0.25
God is pro-clothing.
Request for information about humans in their natural state is frowned
upon.
-0.5 Google is clothing-neutral. Google will
provide all the information you need about human activities regardless
of how much clothing is required.
0.5
God can not help you
with your computer problems.
0 Google will help you solve your computer
problems
0.5
God will not tell you
which way to turn when you are lost on the road.
0 Google will always steer you right. 1
God will not relay a
message from you to another person.
0 Google will reliably deliver a message from
you to another person.
1
God will not tell you
what your friends and enemies are doing.
0 Google will tell you a lot about your
friends and your enemies.
.5
Even though God knows,
he will never tell you who is thinking of you and who is visiting your
house.
0 Google will try to tell you who is thinking
of you and who is visiting your website.
.5
God will not find any phone numbers for you. 0 Google tries to find the

phone numbers for you
(800-Goog-411)
.25
Life without God is hell. 1 Life without Google is hell. 1

* From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

+God.com and God.net are fan sites and God.org is owned by a cybersquatter.

Since Google is ahead in so many categories, I don’t even need to count the points. Google is stronger than God!

Some columnists have (wrongly) suggested that Google is God. There is no God at Google. (http://god.google.com leads to a server not found error.)

There are rumors that Google is in talks with high ranking officials at Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca to possibly acquire God. In recent job posting, Google looked for candidates with extensive religious background, which could be a hint.

Since “God” has G as the first letter in its name, some have argued that Google might have already acquired God, and it is already a done deal. Analysts disagree whether Google will release an improved God (God 2.0) or an open source God (renamed as gOD).

google is god 2.0

You can also visit The Church of Google, where they believe that Google IS God and suggest taking a pledge Do You Accept Google As Your Default Search Engine?. I disagree with their conclusion and refuse to take that pledge.

Please visit next week (or subscribe to the RSS feed) for an article on Why I am scared of Google, and what am I doing about it.

Do you have additional reasons to prove/disprove the hypotheses? Does God talk to you sometime? Do you have any inside information? Pl. leave a comment.

Happy Thanksgiving, May God Google be with you!


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