Written by Brandon Shalton
Date: August 30, 2003
Beam me up Scotty! Acacia’s Patent Claims invention of Teleportation

For those that have been following Acacia and the other broad patent (abuse) cases, you will have seen that companies INTERPRET their patents to mean something much broader than originally described. Since Acacia has gone on the war path of notifying websites of the interpretation of their patent infringements, I felt it was only fair to further interpret their patent.

In the ‘992 patent, the patent authors make a claim that can be attributed to teleportation, the movement of objects from one location to another as seen on Star Trek. Let’s take a look at the actual language of the patent.

For those following at home, click here to view the entire patent.

The abstract to the patent reads

Audio and video transmission and receiving system

A system of distributing video and/or audio information employs digital signal processing to achieve high rates of data compression. The compressed and encoded audio and/or video information is sent over standard telephone, cable or satellite broadcast channels to a receiver specified by a subscriber of the service, preferably in less than real time, for later playback and optional recording on standard audio and/or video tape.


While the abstract states audio and video, Acacia claims any kind of digitized information.

On the patent page, do a search for the word physical object’.

You will come to this paragraph

Transmission system 100 of a preferred embodiment of the present invention preferably includes source material library means for temporary storage of items prior to conversion and storage in a compressed data library means.The items of information may include analog and digital audio and video information as well as physical objects such as books and records which require conversion to a compatible media typebefore converting, compressing and storing their audio and video data in the compressed data library means.

To help you go through these two paragraphs, I’ll give you the quick summary of their patent.

Fig 2a of their patent application has a diagram at the bottom that illustrates the patent application.

Source Material Library (item 111) contains stuff to be digitized, and is assigned a unique ID in the Identification Encoding Process (item 112). The thing is then digitized in items 113 to 116, then the digitized file is compressed at item 117, and then stored in a Data Library. From here, the person selects the file that they want and it is sent to them. (Keep in mind, the invention is based on ordering movies for your television [Video on Demand] ).

In reading the patent excerpt above, you may start to see the reference to teleporation. The blue highlight marks the reference. So you are probably thinking, sure, they mean to digitize a book by scanning the pages and to digitize a record into digital audio.

The next paragraph brings it home:

As shown in FIG. 2a, the source material library means included in transmission system 100 preferably includes a source material library 111. The source material library 111 may include different types of materials including television programs, movies, audio recordings, still pictures, files, books, computer tapes, computer disks, documents of various sorts, musical instruments, and other physical objects. These materials are converted to or recorded on a media format compatible to the digital and analog inputs of the system prior to being compressed and stored in a compressed data library 118. The different media formats preferably include digital or analog audio and video tapes, laser disks, film images, optical disks, magnetic disks, computer tapes, disks and, cartridges.

Wuh?????????? Musical instruments and other physical objects?????? With this paragraph, the inventors have claimed an invention that can take a saxophone, digitize it into 1’s and 0’s and you can then order up the saxophone in a Shopping Channel type method, and have the saxophone be teleported to your home through your cable connection. Now this is what the Patent Office would consider ‘Novel’!

The problem is that someone has already PATENTED a Teleporter. Since the filing date of this application was in 1989, it would be the prior art to invalidate Acacia’s claims on Teleportation. And to the guy that filed the patent for the Teleporter, looks like he watched one too many Star Trek episodes to think that he is the inventor, probably thinks he’s Captain Kirk.

So what have we learned today? Patents can be written to be very broad and can be interpreted to mean whatever you want them to mean. Just as long as you have attorneys and money, you can sue anyone for anything. Unfortunately, it’s not a funny joke as smaller companies can’t afford to fight absurd claims and many times, end up folding their business or stop engaging in the "infringed claim".

Special thanks to one of FightThePatent's Legal Eagle readers for pointing out the musical instruments reference.

Editors Note: 1-sept-2003
The article is satirical in making the interpretation of Acacia claiming patent on Teleportation. Inbetween the humor lies these points:

1) patents are sometimes written very broadly and slip by the USPTO

2) patents can be interpreted by the patent holder to mean whatever they think it means

3) patent holders sue companies to try and enforce their interpretations

4) patents can be invalidated by finding prior art, and by explaining to the judge and jury that the patent is not feasible, or possible.

5) that some people are humor-challenged and didn't get that Acacia didn't really claim teleportation, that this article was mocking their patent by drawing attention to an actual absurd section of the patent.

While Acacia really doesn't claim teleportation (atleast I hope they don't), the article does show actual language that they used, that could allow you to interpret that they claim teleporation.

In the event that Acacia really did claim teleportation, they would have to deal with these two and and these guys.

copyright 2003, FightThePatent.com