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Will Google TV Owe Royalties For Universal Search? 91

An anonymous reader writes "Google TV, TiVo, iTunes and virtually every big consumer electronics maker have promised 'universal search' engines that enable users to quickly find and play movies, music and other content, no matter where it is stored. But Crestron Electronics, a developer of home automation systems, just filed a patent for 'Searching Two or More Media Sources for Media.' In other words, universal search, specifically for both local and cloud-based content."
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Will Google TV Owe Royalties For Universal Search?

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  • I first looked for media (music) from two or more media sources (napster and my own cd collection) over a decade ago.

    Seriously, how can you patent "looking in two different places for something you want". I think that's called cross-shopping and it's been going on since about 2 days after we found out we can barter one item for another back in the stone age?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mount my cloud based drive as a regular drive on my PC, and both my Linux and Windows OSs that I have allow me to search both local mounts and this mount at the same time. Wouldn't that be prior art?

    • In a First to File world, prior art is meaningless unless it was published.

      • by hazydave ( 96747 )

        Published, or already on sale, already in common use, or otherwise already available to the public.

        The basic distinction is that, if you're already working on a patent for the same thing, and someone else gets their application in first, you can't win the patent, even if you can prove you invented it first. You may or may not be able to invalidate their patent application on the basis of prior art, depending on just how your technology is already being used compared to the other guy's.

  • If they "just filed a patent" , and Google has already been using it:
    i)Why would Google have to pay royalty?
    ii)Wouldnt Google's use be prior art?

    • Did you miss the part where with the America Invents Act [] has now entrenched First-to-File?

      Who needs prior are if you're the first one to file for a patent?

      Welcome to a huge step backwards in the already bad intellectual property laws. You don't have the to be the one to come up with an idea, just the one to beat someone else on your patent filing.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        First-to-file doesn't affect prior art. Prior art still invalidates patent claims in the same way that it has always done (i.e., with less effect than is commonly believed, unfortunately).

        The point of first-to-file is _only_ to resolve priority in situations where two parties file overlapping valid (i.e. novel) patents. Previously, there would be a horrible expensive process to determine who thought of the idea in secret first. Not nice to prove. Now, it's just a question of who filed the paperwork first. I

        • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @10:04AM (#37525972) Homepage

          This AC is right, the Act does not mean prior art no longer counts. Citing:

          A person shall be entitled to a patent unless:

                  '(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or

                  '(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date[3] of the claimed invention.

          • Yeah, but from the link I provided, they've also muddied the waters somewhat ...

            One element of uncertainty that will be created by this Act, at least for the next five to ten years, is the definition of invalidating prior art. Prior to this reform, decades of case law had been established to define what was necessary for prior art to be invalidating because it was "known," "used," "patented," "described in a printed publication," "in public use" or "on sale." However, 35 U.S.C. Â102, as amended, has in

            • So, it might take some time until there is clear enough case law to establish what all this means

              I imagine that the Federal Circuit will start by defining "otherwise available to the public" at least as broadly as "known or used".

      • Not only are you wrong (see the other person(s) who replied to you), but first-inventor-to-file doesn't even go into effect until 16 March 2013, and then only for applications filed on or after that date.

    • It wasn't really "just filed." It was filed March 10th, 2010 ( ). I believe this means prior art needs to be from March 10th, 2009 or earlier. Google TV was announced in May of 2010, so it wouldn't qualify. However, as Google rose in popularity but before it became *THE* place to search, there were a lot of meta search engines. You'd type your query in one site and see results from Google, Alta Vista, Yahoo, etc. (These died out as searching Google b

      • by Anonymous Coward


      • Prior art between 10 March 2009 and 9 March 2010 can also count, but there's a chance that the applicant will be able to show that they invented it before such prior art. They would have to show proof of conception of the entire claimed invention at a prior date, along with due diligence in developing the invention toward a reduction to practice (i.e., actually building the complete invention or filing the application) between the prior art's date and the reduction to practice.

    • by Afty0r ( 263037 )

      If they "just filed a patent" , and Google has already been using it:
      i)Why would Google have to pay royalty?

      Didn't the USA just become a "first-to-file" nation?

    • by bjwest ( 14070 )

      Doesn't first to file pretty much do away with prior art? Seams to me that any invention that has never had a paten filed against it is now up for grabs.

      • No, they still have to have invented it. If somebody else publishes the idea, somebody else doesn't get to come along and get a patent because they filed for it, they would still have to show that there wasn't prior art that would invalidate the patent.

  • The whole point of search is to look in more than one place, otherwise it would be called Google retrieval.
    • by julesh ( 229690 )

      You're missing the point: the patent is specifically about amalgamating and presenting results that aren't covered by a single searchable database. Something like metacrawler might be prior art, google search isn't.

    • ( Patent Application [], for those interested.)

      I like your take on this. The whole application should be reject because it's based on a faulty premise (statement 6, below).

      [0004] Searching online for various media such as video, audio, and still images is known. Further, searching for such media on a user's local hard drive is also known. For example, programs such as Microsoft's Media Center.RTM., Google.RTM., Yahoo.RTM., Youtube.RTM., OSX.RTM., iTunes.RTM., Windows.RTM., and TIVO.RTM., all include integrat

      • But even Google combining multiple search types doesn't make them covered by the patent, as the patent claims specifically require that results be grouped based on having similar metadata. That's the key innovation that makes this patent reasonable. Google could meet the patent if its results list came back saying "We have this set of results about European trains, this set about model trains, this set about wedding dress trains, and this set about Thomas the Tank Engine porn."
        • by mattr ( 78516 )

          Okay I recently have been wondering why doesn't Google Search on my HTC also search my phone and sdcard which is kinda important when you get into many gigs each.

          That said, what you are talking about is what the Northern Light search engine used to do, clustering results quite successfully IIRC into folders. Also had a very nice design. And it would search the Internet, news, and thousands of publications in databases.

          This page also says:


        • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

          " Thomas the Tank Engine porn."

          Rule 34, is there nothing you can't do?


    • Actually, it was called Google Desktop (parts of Google Labs and just recently discontinued). It had this functionality five to ten years ago (and Google certainly wasn't the only one).

      Google.RTM., while providing a mechanism to search both the internet and the user's hard drive, cannot search both the internet and the user's hard drive simultaneously and provide a single set of search results. Further, Google only allows searches dedicated to video, audio, or images, and does not provide a mechanism for searching for all media types at the same time.

      Actually, Google Desktop did search both, did index all media types (even the unknown ones since it even allowed you to write your own indexing plugin), and even your porn (unless you told it to exclude those folders or urls), and it did provide you with a single set of merged search results (if you so desired).

      The only thin

  • by ProfBooty ( 172603 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @09:23AM (#37525560) []

    Check subclasses 48-53 as well as subclasses 133 and 141.

    The office is well aware of this sort of art, there are existing patents which search the interent as well as local sources such as DVD players, PCs, PVRs etc to create combined electronic program guides. They are found in the above sub classes.

    this is not news.

  • Search "Computer", it then searches a variety of drives, etc.

    That should have been enough to invalidate such a patent. But we all know, the Patent Office is like a whorehouse for trolls.

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      Forget Windows! I've been doing this for years and I can only see myself doing more of it as I age.

      Where did I leave that DVD?

      On the left shelf? No, it's not threre.

      On the right shelf? Oh yeah, that's where I left it.
    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      > the Patent Office is like a whorehouse for trolls.

      So why is it we're the ones getting fucked?

    • Did you read the actual patent claims, or are you just assuming from the title?

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Did you? If so then perhaps you could illuminate the situation...

        • At present, the claims only really require searching more than one location and what appears to be consolidation of similar results. Most likely, the claims will get amended to specify searching local and remote locations at the same time, since that's what the spec purports the improvement to be, but it'll likely take some minor implementation detail to make it patentable.

    • well, couldn't you claim that the "ls" command has offered this forever? Say you put all your media containing drives in a mount folder of /media, and then did ls -R *.mp3, it would techincally "search" for the file across whatever type of media is mounted.. be it physical hard drives, optical drives, network drives of various mount styles, etc.

  • If even one person had their computer plugged into a TV for a monitor (and how many TV's over the past decade have had VGA, DVI, HDMI, RGB and even Firewire inputs?) then I see this as invalid. Each and every gnutella user had their own database of available files, TV shows and movies could be found on the network in those databases, and be played back on the television display.

    Case dismissed!

  • Search "*.mp3 OR *.avi" - TADA!

    The fact win98 would let you search network folders via filetype and I'm supprised anyone even thinks they can patent this.... let me guess - US Patent office?

  • Wouldn't Google Desktop Search count as prior art? as of 2006 it was capable of searching multiple computers on a network. []

  • Maybe I'm stupider than I'd like to think or less of a dick than I like to purport I am but I could never come up with all these absurd patents.
  • I own the patent owning the idea of writing absurd patents,

    Since this patent is blatantly absurd they need to pay me millions of simolians.

  • the search options in even Windows XP (I can't remember if the 9x's did it) allows you to pick the locations to search for media (certain drives, folders, etc.. be them networked, optical, hard drives, etc, etc)

  • I wrote a system that did this for the BBC back in '98. Web based, searched their entire film archive and TV archive, drawing in data from two very distinct data stores (entirely different back-end technologies); I don't think it covered radio too but would've been easily extendable.

    Oh well, fucking software patents.

  • I just patented farting with one's thumb stuck up one's ass.

    Seriously, when will this fucktardation end?

    Next election, vote Pirate. Coming soon to a polity near you...

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972