Patent WTF?

Singaporean company VUESTAR announced that they just about own the entire Internet, and that everyone should buy their license so they don’t get sued.

Alright, let me explain this one.

VUESTAR, a Singaporean company, announced on 27th of May that they own the patent to the following:

Locating web pages by utilising visual images.

To dumb it down further, basically it means if I were to do this:

<a href=”http://vuestar.biz/”&gt;
<img src=”http://vuestar.biz/images/logo.jpg” /></a>

To produce this:

…I would have infringed VUESTAR’s copyright. Yes, just like that, I shit you not.

Okay, not really. It only applies to corporate and personally-hosted websites (Singapore-based, basically), so this blog is outta that picture, since it’s hosted on the WordPress servers. At least, I hope so. >.>

Anyway, this was reported in the local paper, and has been (and is still) appearing in articles online, sparking off outrage and utter disbelief in fellow users of the Interwebs, especially us Singaporeans.

Okay, I bet you’re saying “they’re lying, they probably don’t have any documents to back it up”. Actually, they do. Patents from not just Singapore, but Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Okay, now I bet your now asking “should we be afraid?” Well, no, we shouldn’t. This is just blatant patent trolling, and it’s obvious this falls under Prior Art, since we’ve been doing this stuff freely way before they entered the picture.

They’ve already started sending invoices to local (Singaporean) companies to pay for their right to host hyperlinked images, though on their website, they state that charities and government agencies get a license FoC while everyone else has to pay from SGD$200 onwards. Onwards to “millions”, that is.

Oh, and to quote their FAQ,

Why do I need a User Licence?

You need a user licence to give you the lawful right for a year in the Republic of Singapore to use the VUESTAR patented technologies to use visual images to access or connect at speed/hyperlink to websites and/or web pages.

My web page uses visual images am I the only one paying the Licence?

No. You are required to have a License, as is your Internet Service provider, your Telco whose phones connected to the web and anybody else contributing to the use of  the patent. All search engine portals and web sites that have search facilities and images will require separate Licenses.

And so on.

So, how will this end? Honestly, I don’t know. Worst case is, the courts will actually follow this, and Singaporean-based companies (or worse, the entire world) will have to buy a license just for hyperlinked images.

I hate Singaporeans. Oh, wait, what nationality am I again?

Oh, btw, SueVueStar. XD

Thanks to my friend Pkchukiss for the heads-up, and all the linked pages in this post, as well as this blog for some of the links, and the invoice scan.

UPDATE: Another invoice scan, and holy shit, $5,350.00? Man, I feel sorry for that company. Also, webcomic.


11 Responses to “Patent WTF?”

  1. 1 Sora911
    June 2, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Such a damn rip-off. Hope this doesn’t hit the U.S like what it did to Singapore.

  2. 2 HanMan5000
    June 2, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Bull-Shit! Thats not fair at all….

  3. 3 Shadow
    June 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Wow such stupidity.

    Somebody get the ban-hammer and ban them from the internet. There has been a serious phail on the internetz.

  4. June 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    They try to sue me, I’ll fucking sue them for being jack-asses.

  5. June 4, 2008 at 7:13 am

    @Sora911: Actually, I rather hope it hits the US. I really hope these guys have a serious brainfart and attempt to collect fees from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google et al. Once the big hammers come down we’ll see whether their patent trolling stands up to the test.

  6. 6 diana twiNKLEs
    June 5, 2008 at 3:13 am

    hmmm..this stuff is confusing me lar..ahahhx…i noe..i am such an ignoramus abt such things..enlighten me fazli! hahahax..

    though i dun tink u can..hehehe..

  7. 7 thatizyguy
    June 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    that’s just gay…

  8. 8 SaLaNoS
    June 15, 2008 at 9:59 am

    You have got to be kidding.

    Well, it’s a good thing I don’t pop by .sg sites much.

  9. 9 TXVergil
    June 16, 2008 at 1:20 am

    No different from odex 😦

  10. 10 SaLaNoS
    June 20, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Nah, Odex has a right to complain.

  11. 11 Infestor51
    June 24, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Odex is dead.

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