Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Frank Lupo

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, SYS-CON MEDIA, Machine Learning , Agile Computing

Adobe Flex: Article

i-Technology Blog: Death-Knell For "Rich Media? Hardly!

"It's Just a Publicity Stunt" – Nexaweb Founder and RIA Pioneer Coach Wei

David Temkin
Founder and CTO, Laszlo Systems

"The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this patent was a controversial patent issued in 1993. That patent, issued to Compton's New Media, claimed to cover any kind of multimedia at all--and this was in 1993, after a quarter century of multimedia development.

When Compton's announced the patent, they claimed in public that the patent applied to all multimedia, and announced a plan where a software or media payment company wishing to make, say, a CD-ROM or on-line offering, could license the rights to do so from Compton's New Media.

This sounded nothing short of absurd to anyone who had been paying attention to the industry for more than a few years, and there was quite a furor over the patent. Soon afterward the PTO reexamined the patent, and invalidated all of its 41 claims. The patent office left the impression that they had only reviewed existing patents for prior art, not the extensive stream of product and prototypes that have emerged from academia and industry over the years.

Two aspects of the Balthaser affair seem to recall the Compton's patent. First, the Balthaser press release stakes out much more territory than the patent claims seem to indicate: While the press release states that any rich media application, in any format, is covered by the patent, the crux of the patent seems to describe a technique for creating a rich media application on-line, like a hosted IDE or on-line design tool. Secondly, I believe that there is a significant amount of relevant, unpatented, prior art. The attention that Balthaser is drawing to the patent with its bold press release increases the chance that this work will be found and brought to the attention of the PTO.

I'd expect this to sort itself out in due time. The sky is not falling. But if you're in the "rich media" business, be prepared to hear from a lot of Chicken Littles over the next few months."



Coach Wei
Founder and CTO, Nexaweb Technologies

"As someone who has been in the Rich Internet Application space and using AJAX for a long time, here are some of my thoughts on this patent.

Basically, this is a publicity stunt by the owner of the patent (Balthaser Online Inc). The patent does not cover Rich Internet Applications in general as people seem to think it does. This patent is very specific about “Rich media.” The amount of coverage the patent receives demonstrates not so much the merit of this patent itself as it illustrates the significant buzz around RIA.

The patent press release implies that it “covers” Flash, Java and AJAX in general, but this patent is about Rich-media creation/modification/deletion, but not the general “Rich Internet Application” itself. It is about “users to create or modify a rich media application over the internet.” It covers rich media hosting websites and content websites that such rich content is added, modified or deleted by individual users within their user accounts. Companies that made significant investment in rich media could fall into the claims. A lot of Flash based websites would fall into the claims of this patent too, as well as some of Flash-based applications.

However, the validity of this patent is questionable:

'Balthaser filed its patent application on Feb. 9, 2001. CNET News reported that two years before then, a company called Java Technologies had a product enabling people to create multimedia. This prior use of similar technology could make Balthaser's licensing effort difficult, CNET reported.'

That is a quote from an article published recently."


Jim Phelan
VP of Development, Stream57

"A cursory glance at the Balthaser.com website reveals nothing particularly rich: some generic Flash animations, a fairly annoying techno-track looping in the background, and a promise of a custom user-friendly site tailored to your individual requirements. In spite of the apparent disregard for compelling user experiences, Balthaser claims that it is the proponent of Rich Media, the innovation in web-based user interaction that has fueled the efforts of Microsoft, Adobe, Sun, and others for the past several years.

In an interview with InformationWeek, Neil Balthaser states:

“The broader claim is one that basically says that if you got a rich Internet application, it is covered by this patent.”

In spite of Neil Balthaser’s questionable grammatical skills, he may yet prove to be a force to be reckoned with: if the patent is upheld in the capacity expected, the ramifications would be monumental: licensing fees would be required from every software vendor and website operator who infringed upon the patent’s loose definition of the creation of rich media applications via the Internet.

Most know that “Rich Media” goes far beyond what’s covered in Balthaser’s patent (or in its website). MXDJ Editorial Board member Aral Balkan has started a Prior Art Discovery website, located at http://www.osflash.org/balthaser_patent_prior_art_discovery. Companies such as Microsoft and Adobe will undoubtedly fight the legitimacy of the patent if it is found to have relevance to their software. While one can commend Balthaser in his valiant effort, the fact remains that the definition of Rich Media is far too general to be protected by patent law."


NEXT PAGE: Read comment of Charles Fiesel, Roundarch

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (10) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Website Builder 02/21/08 07:38:11 PM EST

What's the situation with this?

Tom Maszerowski 03/01/06 07:31:50 AM EST

Considering the mass of prior art, they're not likely to end the "web as we know it" anytime soon.

QuoteUnquote 03/01/06 07:27:36 AM EST

[from the Balthaser Online Inc press release]

'This new addition to our patent portfolio is a pioneering patent and provides significant licensing opportunities for both Balthaser and our licensees,' stated Neil Balthaser, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman.

'The patent covers all rich media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, Ajax and XAML and all device footprints which access Rich-Media Internet Applications including desktops, mobile devices, set-top boxes and video game consoles. Balthaser will be able to provide licenses for almost any Rich-Media Internet Application across a broad range of devices and networks.'

Dave Williamson 03/01/06 06:51:27 AM EST

It would appear that some of the earliest flash and generator work myself and some of my colleges were involved in back in the earliest days of flash has broken one of the most ludicrous patent awards I have heard of.

Neil Balthaser has been awarded a Patent relating to the online production of RIAs using RIAs over a remote connection.

I find this incredible given the number of flash applications that were around at that time that must have existed to be listed as prior art that would have shown quite obviously that there was not a single original idea, process or product related to the Balthather FX/ProFX site.

In the UK there is the MoonFruit platform for a start that was live before the Pro FX site for a start (here's the link: http://www.moonfruit.com/), not least the fact that Macromedia's own Generator product offered exactly the engine of such automated production online.

So here for your delectation is 'Casper' an application born in 1998/1999 some time originally utilising flash 3/4 and generator and then more recently updated through flash 5 and Flash MX. (Here's the URL: http://casper.bittube.com/)

In the future I fully intend to bring the code base kicking and screaming into Flash AS2/3 and re-introduce the capabilities to 'export' or 'produce' rich media presentations from it.

For those of you who were also around producing this form of 'RIA' back in the day, I highly recommend you dig out and dust off your old FLAs and report those productions over at OSFlash.org as prior art.

Where this patent leaves future development of similar concepts in relation to Flex, server-based MTasc/swfMill AJAX or any other form and or mixture of technology(ies) you can think of remains to be seen.

Boy am I cross.

Mark Evans 03/01/06 06:20:50 AM EST

This either looks like another U.S. Patent & Trade Office fiasco and/or a company setting itself up to be acquired and put out of its misery.

In any event, it - and the patent battle between NTP and RIM - illustrates the USPTO should undergo an extensive review to assess whether the granting of patents is being done in a way that protects the rights of investors while still leaving enough flexibility to encourage innovation.

ClarificationPlease 03/01/06 06:04:46 AM EST

Is it true that the patent covers all rich media technology implementations including Flash, Flex, Java, Ajax and XAML?

pyrosx 02/28/06 08:54:12 AM EST

WTF! Hell of a job the US Patent Office is doing. Obviously they are somewhere near the lower end of the american literacy curve. I feel so embarrassed for the patent system right now.

I should patent 'A system of posting free speech online.' and collect royalties from all online publications.

pyrosx 02/28/06 08:54:10 AM EST

WTF! Hell of a job the US Patent Office is doing. Obviously they are somewhere near the lower end of the american literacy curve. I feel so embarrassed for the patent system right now.

I should patent 'A system of posting free speech online.' and collect royalties from all online publications.

queZZtion 02/28/06 08:49:35 AM EST

Is this the same Neil Balthaser that used to be a VP of strategy for Macromedia?

DL Byron 02/28/06 07:57:49 AM EST

Balthaser can yell bingo with the ruling and now will try to win the megalotto by hoping some company would rather license the patent then fight them.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.