And a happy new year ...

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

- Rich


Open source ESB progress

A quick article in InfoWorld just before Christmas noted that the Celtix open source ESB has passed a third milestone. Of most interest (to me) is the support for WS-Addressing and the WSDL <-> Java conversions.

Link: Open source ESB makes strides

Iona Technologies and ObjectWeb on Thursday said the Celtix open source enterprise service bus (ESB) now compares favorably with commercial ESBs, based on a milestone that has been reached.

The milestone, called Milestone 3, covers transport support, specification compliance and usability. Celtix is intended to provide an open source Java ESB runtime for use in SOA.

"The Celtix community has delivered robust JMS (Java Message Service) support and this, combined with the other features made available in Milestone 3, gives end users a powerful and cost-effective ESB to support their SOA and other integration projects," said Carl Trieloff, director of open source programs at Iona, in a prepared statement released to the press." ...


Data-Hiding Codes

A great tutorial in the Proceedings of the IEEE Vol. 93, No. 12. For those wishing to geek out over the holidays, or just want to get the drift by reading the first 5 pages and the conclusions, it's highly recommended.

Data-Hiding Codes

Moulin, P. Koetter, R.

This paper appears in: Proceedings of the IEEE

Publication Date: Dec. 2005

Volume: 93 , Issue: 12

On page(s): 2083 - 2126

ISSN: 0018-9219

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/JPROC.2005.859599

Posted online: 2005-12-05 08:49:19.0


This tutorial paper reviews the theory and design of codes for hiding or embedding information in signals such as images, video, audio, graphics, and text. Such codes have also been called watermarking codes; they can be used in a variety of applications, including copyright protection for digital media, content authentication, media forensics, data binding, and covert communications. Some of these applications imply the presence of an adversary attempting to disrupt the transmission of information to the receiver; other applications involve a noisy, generally unknown, communication channel. Our focus is on the mathematical models, fundamental principles, and code design techniques that are applicable to data hiding. The approach draws from basic concepts in information theory, coding theory, game theory, and signal processing, and is illustrated with applications to the problem of hiding data in images.


We have met the enemy, and he is (one of) us.

Intellectual Ventures LLC may give us all a new sense of the term "IV", in that the direction of blood flow is likely to be the the "outward" direction. In the same issue of CIO Insight, they've included an interview with Peter Detkin, who is credited with coining the term "Patent Troll".

I've been told recently by more than one person that, while IV has been primarily in acquisition mode for the past years, the combination of their warchest and the IP portfolio they've built up is now sufficient for them to be a good deal more active in the desanguination of those companies unfortunate enough to be making use of "their IP." One question that has occurred to me recently is whether the companies which are limited partners in IV (see a partial list below) are immune from pursuit, or obtain a low-cost license? Is there a uniform licensing fee for the portfolio contents?

Link: Has the Enemy of Patent Trolls Become One?

In 2001, when he was assistant general counsel at Intel Corp., Peter Detkin famously coined the term "patent troll" to describe firms that acquire patents only to extract settlements from companies on dubious infringement claims. Today he is a managing director of Intellectual Ventures LLC, a Bellevue, Wash., firm some observers fear is itself a troll—on steroids. IV is a patent holding company with a war chest estimated at up to $400 million; for five years it has been acquiring thousands of patents.

Founded by Microsoft Corp. alumni Nathan Myhrvold and Edward Jung, the firm is reportedly backed by a cadre of tech giants including Microsoft, Sony Corp., Nokia Corp., Apple Computer Inc., Intel, eBay Inc. and Google Inc., each of which gains a nonexclusive license to the firm's patent portfolio. The fears and speculation stem, in part, from the cloak of secrecy the firm maintains."


Trolling for Dollars

Earlier this month CIO Insight published an article on business method patents (the PTO Class 705), and close the article with the thinly veiled advice to "patent everything before someone else

Link: Intellectual Security: Patent Everything You Do, Before Someone Else Does


Fischburg is not alone in his quest to assert intellectual-property rights over a business method that became commonplace in the time it took the PTO to grant his patent. His was among 7,800 applications in 2000 that fell into the PTO's Class 705, which covers most business methods. Among those applications was another patent, awarded to just last month, for its method of encouraging users to write reviews of products they've bought.

On that same day, Amazon was also awarded a patent on its technique for ranking multiple-category search results, and another for its method for creating communities (called "purchase circles"), for which it filed patent applications in March 2003 and August 1999, respectively.

The company hasn't disclosed if it will seek to license these patents to other online retailers, search engines or Web portals, but the patent awards touched off immediate speculation that shopping portals such as Yahoo!, and search sites that attempt to build communities, will draw the ire of lawyers seeking to maintain a competitive advantage and augment revenues.

The PTO has issued thousands of patents like these in recent years, littering the business landscape with land mines for unsuspecting companies and their CIOs, who must build IT systems around them. Just last July, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Citibank, Discover Financial Services, T-Mobile and others were the latest to be sued for patent infringement by inventor Ronald Katz, who has reportedly collected nearly $1 billion in license fees for his call-center patents, which cover features such as interactive voice responses and automated prompts. (More than 100 companies have purchased licenses from Katz, including household names such as AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and IBM Corp.)