Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin | Ars Technica

Secretive, wealthy Sackler family is at the heart of the opioid crisis, lawsuit alleges.

Source: Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin | Ars Technica

Stupid Patent of the Month: A Patent on Using Mathematical Proofs | Electronic Frontier Foundation

In some fields, software bugs are more than the proverbial pain in the neck. When software has to ensure that an airplane lands safely, or that a pacemaker keeps operating, there’s no room for error.The idea that mathematical proofs could be used to prove that software is error-free has been around since the 1970s, and is known as “formal verification.” But like a lot of technologies that some visionaries saw coming, it took time to develop. In recent years, computing power has become cheap enough for formal verification to become practical for more software applications.Unfortunately, last month, the field had a monkey wrench thrown into it, in the form of U.S. Patent No. 10,109,010, which the patent office awarded to a U.K.-based company called Aesthetic Integration Ltd.

Source: Stupid Patent of the Month: A Patent on Using Mathematical Proofs | Electronic Frontier Foundation

New Acting Attorney General Part Of A Patent Scam Company Recently Shut Down By The FTC And Fined Millions | Techdirt

Whitaker played a key role in a patent promotion scam company that was recently fined millions of dollars by the FTC. And, Whitaker apparently used his former job as an Assistant US Attorney to try to intimidate an unhappy “customer” of this firm away from filing a Better Business Bureau complaint. In other words, not only is Whitaker associated with a scammy patent marketing company, he also abused his former title in an effort to create a chilling effect on someone’s speech.

Source: New Acting Attorney General Part Of A Patent Scam Company Recently Shut Down By The FTC And Fined Millions | Techdirt

Are Patent Claims Coming for Your WS2812? | Hackaday


There are some components which are used within our sphere so often as to become ubiquitous, referred to by their part number without the need for a hasty dig through a data sheet to remind oneself…

Source: Are Patent Claims Coming for Your WS2812? | Hackaday

No, you can’t patent the ability to pause a lesson recording, EFF says | Ars Technica


According to Thomas’ patent filing itself, “the technique involves a process through which a student, for each of a set of expressions listens to a recorded expression in the home language, and then with a pause under control of the student, translates the expressions into the target language.”

Source: No, you can’t patent the ability to pause a lesson recording, EFF says | Ars Technica

Stupid Patent of the Month: Alleged Cult Leader Wants to ‘Improve Performance’ | Techdirt


Today, we’re going to focus on Raniere’s U.S. Patent No. 9,421,447, a “method and apparatus for improving performance.” The patent simply adds trivial limitations to the basic functioning of a treadmill, like timing the user and recording certain parameters (speed, heart rate, or turnover rate.) Since most modern treadmills allow users to precisely measure performance on a variety of metrics, the patent is arguably broad enough that it could be used to sue treadmill manufacturers or sellers.Given Raniere’s litigation history, that’s not such a remote possibility. NXIVM has sued its critics for defamation—enough that the Albany Times-Union called NIXVM a “Litigation Machine.” And Raniere sued both AT&T and Microsoft for infringement of some patents relating to video conferencing. The latter suit ended very badly for Raniere, who was ordered to pay attorneys’ fees after he couldn’t prove that he still had ownership of the patents in question. So it’s worth taking a look at how Raniere got the ‘447 patent.

Source: Stupid Patent of the Month: Alleged Cult Leader Wants to ‘Improve Performance’ | Techdirt

Did Congress Really Expect Us to Whittle Our Own Personal Jailbreaking Tools? | Electronic Frontier Foundation


DMCA 1201 allows the Copyright Office to grant “use” exemptions, but not “tools” exemptions. That means that if the Copyright Office likes your proposal, they can give you permission to jailbreak your gadgets to make some use (say, install third-party apps on your phone, or record clips from your DVDs to use in film studies classes), but they can’t give anyone the right to give you the tool needed to make that use (law professor and EFF board member Pam Samuelson argues that the Copyright Office can go farther than this, at least some of the time, but the Copyright Office disagrees).

Source: Did Congress Really Expect Us to Whittle Our Own Personal Jailbreaking Tools? | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Stupid Patent Of The Month: Motivational Health Messaging LLC Gets A Patent On Sending Uplifting Texts | Techdirt


Have you ever sent a motivational text to a friend? If you have, perhaps you tailored your message to an activity or location by saying “Good luck in the race!” or “Have fun in New York!” Now, imagine doing this automatically with a compuuuter. What a great invention. Actually, no. That’s not a good invention, it’s our latest Stupid Patent of the Month.

Source: Stupid Patent Of The Month: Motivational Health Messaging LLC Gets A Patent On Sending Uplifting Texts | Techdirt

Epson is Using its eBay “Trusted Status” to Make Competing Ink Sellers Vanish | Electronic Frontier Foundation


It’s been just over a year since HP got caught using dirty tricks to force its customers to use its official, high-priced ink, and now it’s Epson’s turn to get in on the act.Epson claims that ink-cartridges that are compatible with its printers violate a nonspecific patent or patents in nonspecific ways, and on the strength of those vague assertions, they have convinced eBay to remove many third-party ink sellers’ products, without any scrutiny by eBay.

Source: Epson is Using its eBay “Trusted Status” to Make Competing Ink Sellers Vanish | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Stupid Patent of the Month: JP Morgan Patents Interapp Permissions | Electronic Frontier Foundation


On August 29, 2017, the Patent Office issued U.S. Patent No. 9,747,468 (the ’468 patent) to JP Morgan Chase Bank, titled “System and Method for Communication Among Mobile Applications.” The patent covers the simple idea of a user giving a mobile application permission to communicate with another application. This idea was obvious when JP Morgan applied for the patent in June 2013. Even worse, it had already been implemented by numerous mobile applications. The Patent Office handed out a broad software monopoly while ignoring both common sense and the real world.

Source: Stupid Patent of the Month: JP Morgan Patents Interapp Permissions | Electronic Frontier Foundation