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Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2007

Dave!I was just flicking through channels and see that BravoTV is airing Eddie Murphy: RAW... except they are silencing all the curses. This makes the jokes incomprehensible, and renders the entire show 50% silent. Why even attempt run a censored version of Eddie Murphy standup? It makes no sense.

Anyway, earlier today I mentioned on a message board that had I re-watched Battlefield Earth this weekend and was surprised that it wasn't as horrendously terrible as I had remembered. Sure the acting was mostly awful and the makeup on the Psychlos was embarrassingly bad (their "hands" didn't work, and looked like giant mittens)... but it had good FX, a passable (if implausible) story, and was decent mindless entertainment. Whatever...

Battlefield Lame

A couple of hours later, some dumbass leaves this enlightening response...

"Don't be such a fag. Battlefield Earth sucked and that's a FACT!!!

I ignored his obvious struggle with his sexuality, and went on to explain that Battlefied Earth "sucking" was an opinion, not a fact. Believe it or not, there actually are people who like it, and the flick did receive a few positive reviews by the critics. But, much like Bill O'Reilly, the moron simply could not distinguish between opinion and fact. The conversation immediately degenerated into idiocy, at which point I took my leave. I'd rather give up than waste time with inane crap like this.

Much like I've given up on the antiquated and stupid state of patent law. I've written about the absurdity of the US patent system before, but without using curse words. Today I feel like writing about it again, but this time I can't be as generous in watching my language (much like Eddie Murphy in RAW)...

Rated R

If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...

Apple is being sued for patent infringement over the miraculous keyboard on their equally miraculous iPhone. There's so much wrong with this that I don't even know where to begin, but I think I'll start with these three things:

• FUCK SP TECHNOLOGIES, LLC! Fuck you for filing a vague patent for a common sense technology that you didn't invent and don't use. That makes you a lame-ass patent troll, and is yet another sign of how lawyers own this country. Your ridiculous patent for "a method and medium for a computer readable input area capable of receiving touch-screen input" stifles the innovation and creativity that drives new technology. I mean, seriously, do you recognize THIS...

LCARS Touch Interface

That's the LCARS touch interface introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation back in 1987. Your idiotic patent wasn't registered until 2004.

And do you recognize THIS...

Tron Keyboards

That's Sark's touch keyboard and two other examples of touch input from the movie Tron back in 1982. Yes, NINETEEN EIGHTY-TWO!!

Somebody came up with "a method and medium for a computer readable input area capable of receiving touch-screen input" TWENTY-TWO YEARS before your stupid patent. Hell, even the oldest supporting patent in this case is from 1998! And these are just the things I can remember. I'm sure somebody far more creative than you probably came up with such a rudimentary and wholly unpatentable idea for screen input earlier than that.

• FUCK TYLER, TEXAS! Naturally, SP Technologies LLC didn't file the lawsuit against Apple in their home of St. Petersburg, Florida... of course not... a Florida court would probably just laugh at their stupid asses. Oh no. They filed in TEXAS. Specifically, Tyler, Texas, which is a district that is known to be sympathetic to ass-licking patent trolls. So congratulations for doing your part to destroy companies seeking to innovate and better our lives. Apple may have deep pockets and can weather asinine storms like this, but smaller start-up companies can't. By filing their joke of a lawsuit in Tyler, SP Technologies LLC is just admitting to the world that they have a weak-ass case. My only hope is that even Texas will think this is laughable and dismiss the shit.

• FUCK THE US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE! Yes, fuck you and your antiquated and absurd organization for even granting such a stupid, STUPID, STUPID! patent in the first place. Somebody should patent "a method and medium for shoving one's head up their ass" so you can be sued for the dumbass shit YOU are responsible for. Until somebody has the balls to rip apart the USPTO and rebuild it from scratch in a way that makes sense, it's the consumers like us who are the ones ultimately getting screwed.

I'm certainly not saying that Apple is totally guiltless when it comes to filing frivolous patents, all big tech companies are patent-happy (probably out of necessity)... I'm just saying that this example is particularly senseless and inane. Registering REAL technology for patents is not a bad thing. It protects your investment of time and resources for unique and new ways of doing stuff. But it's time for generalized patents on obvious shit that appeared in a movie 25 years ago to be revoked and denied.

Because if this is the way it's going to be, I think science fiction writers should get automatic patents on the stuff they dream up. At least they're making use of it to tell a story, as opposed to those asshats who steal the shit and then wait for somebody else to actually BUILD it so they can sue and get paid.

Bleh. Where did this day go?

Categories: Apple Stuff 2007, Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. borysSNORC says:

    This is positively ridiculous – the patent was really granted for such a vague concept?
    The Patent and Trademark Office sounds like it should be the Patent and Trademark Orifice.

  2. whit says:

    I didn’t know that was possible. I’m going to patent every stupid thing I see and just sit back and wait for the money to come rolling in.


  3. I just love it when you get all fired up!

  4. kapgar says:

    Well, guess I don’t have to talk about my gripes with patents. Damn you for ruining my post for today. 😉

  5. ssp says:

    I would just expect businesses to be bastards when they can get some money out of it. It’s in their DNA.

    The main people to blame should be clueless lawmakers, judges and so on, who don’t seem to be terribly good at understanding anything outside their little law-world.

    Nice one for Tron 🙂

  6. Bre says:

    1. Ever since the “she’s not my baby” even though she was thing, I’m anti-Eddie Murphy.
    2. A large chunk of my favorite movies are ones that folks insist are crap. Whatever, they don’t know what they’re missing!
    3. So, what’s the difference between the iPhone’s touch screen and say… any palm pilot/treo phone out there? Why just sue Apple?

  7. The Chad says:

    true, I think the movie sucks as well, but that doesn’t stop me from watching it if it’s ever on tv, just becouse its kind of a neat movie.

  8. Avitable says:

    Frivolous patents are a huge problem started by the large companies like Amazon and Microsoft, so I can’t feel too bad that it sometimes turns around and bites them in the ass. The whole system needs a revamp, though.

  9. I worry about you Dave. You shouldn’t hold in your anger like that…it’s just not good for you. 😛

  10. Robert says:

    Excellent post. That’s one of the things about the Star Trek shows that always amazed me watching them. Not the ship battles, or the oddball aliens and such…but the sheer amazing things that their computers (and other onboard tech) could do.

  11. kilax says:

    One of my fiance’s colleauges has this whole movie rating system based on Battlefield Earth being the most awful movie of all time. If you hate a movie you just watched you rate it by saying how many times you would watch it before you would watch Battlefield Earth again. For example – House of Sand and Fog is two earths. Ha ha.

    Anyway, when we watched it, we didn’t think it was that bad! Just funny bad!

  12. Rick says:

    I, too, refuse to argue with idiots.

  13. sizzle says:

    “I ignored his obvious struggle with his sexuality…”

    ha ha. so true!

  14. adena says:

    1. Eddie Murphey- NOT so Raw.

    2. Um, I may have nightmares about those creatures…um…packages.

    3. Stupid Patent.

  15. karla says:

    I’m sorry….I was reading your blog and then I saw the codpieces on those dudes from Battlefield Earth and my mind has shut down. I have no idea what the rest of the post was about.
    I do this at the ballet too. I see those men in tights and I just go into a trance…a trance with a dull stare…..actually that same look men get when they see boobs.

  16. Wayne says:

    I think I’ve commented on this before – I love Battlefield Earth. But I think I love it because of the book / audiobook experience I had first. Sure, the acting blahblah, sure, the props blahblah, but I just like stuff. I love the concept and the story.

  17. Göran says:

    Tron was so freaky cool, I´m gonna sue you for pointing that out. I did that in a post a year ago.

  18. Beth says:

    Do I need to get taser gun out AGAIN??!! Down, Dave!!

  19. Michelle says:

    Um … you mean everyone didn’t watch it hundreds of times just to see Gary Pepper with long hair?? :o) ‘Cuz, yum.

    So says the peanut gallery.

  20. Dustin says:

    God I love it when that “Rated R” warning comes out.

    Seriously though, the SP Technologies lawsuit is like Christopher Columbus coming back from the dead and trying to sue Google claiming he held the patent on all maps everywhere.

    If I was Steve Jobs I’d punch SP Technologies in the business equivalent of their taint and then fly down to Tyler Texas and hand out free iPhones pre-infected with hoof and mouth disease.

    But that’s just how I roll.

  21. Mia says:

    I just liked that you used my beloved Star Trek: TNG as an example. Even if you did choose a screen cap from season two, when they let Dr. Pulaski pretend to be Dr. Crusher.

    I think I just let my geek out.

    I meant to say, damn you US Patent Office.


  22. Lewis says:

    So, just between you and me (and every one of your million readers on the WWW), I like it when you use the word “Fuck.” Kind of has my blood pressure on the rise. My pulse is quickening a little. A single bead of sweat has formed on my brow….above my twitching eye. Tyler, Texas…hum….if I’m not mistaken, there has been a Christian ministry (used to be called Last Days Ministries) headquartered there, I believe. Wonder if its a little mecca???

  23. Cheeseycom says:

    I have mixed feelings about Battlefield Earth… on the one hand, my inner-geek just loves just about anything futuristic/post-apocalyptic/to do with aliens etc… on the other hand.. the acting was really bad.. and the story really strains my ability to suspend my disbelief to its limit (cavemen learn to fly harrier-jets in a week? Right…)
    What really gets me though is I always finding myself thinking: “People have seen this movie and still believe in Scientology?!”

    The only thing that makes the movie palatable for me now is watching it with Rifftrax running alongside it..

  24. Mooselet says:

    I may be a little slow but what I’m getting is that they’ve filed a lawsuit against touch screen inputs. Or something like that? Well that’s completely fucked up. Let’s all go back to living in caves and carving into stone tablets then. Asshats.

    I’ve never seen Battlefield Earth. I may have to now.

  25. Tracie says:

    That patent is for a touch screen keyboard… like a touch screen software a user can resize, move, etc. not touch screens in general. I think. Those patent pages are hard to read.

  26. Dave2 says:

    Actually it’s for a keyboard that CANNOT be moved, closed or resized, and is entirely under software (not user) control. Movable, closeable keyboards have been around since the original Mac in 1984. In my mind that is an absurd differentiation, and why the patent should have never been granted.

    Especially since Sark’s uncloseable, unmovable keyboard from Tron was back in 1982… and probably could be found earlier elsewhere.

    Likewise, Star Trek: The Next Generation had to enter their text somehow, and the LCARS device on their PADDs undoubtedly had such a keyboard as well.

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