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I have written 2 dutch books on value investing: "Aandelen selecteren als waardebelegger" and "Beleggen in bull- en bearmarkten". See bol.com (search for the titles). As a mathematician (Ph.D.) I am most interested in investment strategies with statistically favorable returns. In particular I... More
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  • Crossroads Forum 75 comments
    Jul 17, 2014 3:56 AM | about stocks: CRDS

    The price of Crossroads shares depends for a large part on successes in monetization of their 972 and non 972 patents. And that depends on litigation and settlement successes. Ultimately this depends on the strength of these patents.

    The patents can be found here or go to www.uspto.gov and search full text on "an/crossroads-systems-inc".

    See here for an more high level overview from 2012.

    I will post my findings in the comments below. Feel free to do the same.

    Disclosure: The author is long CRDS.

    Stocks: CRDS
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  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Have been looking at one of the 972 patents (6425035) and this seems to be thoroughly formulated indeed, and applying to a very general storage problem as well.

     

    This patent runs until 2019 and is debated in the current litigation.
    17 Jul 2014, 04:02 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » In short: the patent is for a storage router between computers on a fibre channel network and storage devices on a scsi bus. They seem to have several other patents related to this one, for example 6041381. This patent claims a routing method for the network traffic.
    17 Jul 2014, 01:46 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Sorry, now I think this patent already expires on Dec 31, 2017 since it is a continuation of another patent. That is, this patent adds new claims to an older patent. The limited validity of the patent restricts the present value of potential cash flows from the current 972 litigation a lot.
    24 Jul 2014, 08:32 AM Reply Like
  • PICOLOMINI
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    Comments (1277) | Send Message
     
    972 patents must be worth something more than x. I am watching the price coming down nicely.
    17 Jul 2014, 06:18 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6138161 is also interesting: "Method and system for maintaining reserve command relationships in a fibre channel network"

     

    Its for skipping repeating authentications between a client PC and a storage devive in a fibre channel network. In view of patent 6425035 I am not sure whether the solution patented as 6138161 is still used in practice. This patent expires in 2019.
    18 Jul 2014, 09:00 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6138161 has been assigned to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:20 AM Reply Like
  • Monolith Investments
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    Thank you for setting up this forum Ruerd. I am new to the tech industry so apologize if these are basic questions:

     

    "(from 10-K) Tape is a high-capacity, low-cost solution for securing large amounts of backup and archival data, while providing the lowest cost, most portable and environmentally friendly solution"

     

    If the above is an accurate reflection of the product's qualities, why hasn't everyone switched to tape yet? Seems like a win-win from all angles.

     

    "(from 10-K) However, customers are demanding the archive to be readily available, online and accessible, all of the time. Crossroads’ innovative approach to online data storage with built-in protection enables customers to take advantage of the low cost and reliability of tape technology while adding the performance and simplicity of disk."

     

    The above implies that without Crossroads' innovative approach, the tape product would not be 'readily available, online and accessible'. I am trying to understand what exactly the 'traditional' tape offering looks vs. disk and how Crossroads is able to overcome those limitations.
    18 Jul 2014, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » MI: your questions are exactly what I try to understand as well. Questions like yours help me looking into this.

     

    Here is what I got so far. Until recently people could only store on and read from tapes using pretty low level command line commands. To change that a consortium developed a standard: linear tape file system (LTFS). With this standard one can read and write to tape as if it were a normal disk and without any vendor specific command (so without vendor lock in).

     

    Another technical problem was that tapes were slow to access, much slower than hard disks. As the average file size increases, and tapes are faster than they used to be this advantage has been overcome, at least for a large part. In addition people (Crossroads) have invented clever things like placing file subs on normal disk, and have increased the speed of the relevant network protocols, see the patents discussed above. This speed disadvantage has been overcome especially for companies with many large (video) files, like medical imaging, and media companies.

     

    Crossroads is, with its product Strongbox, one of the implementors of LTFS. They might have the most advanced solution, I hope so. See also the wikipedia page on LTFS. What seems to be special is that people say they have patents that other vendors implementing LTFS have to pay for.
    18 Jul 2014, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • Monolith Investments
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    Thank you, very helpful.
    18 Jul 2014, 02:34 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » BTW, I just checked the wikipedia page and it mentions Crossroads' Strongbox as the only mixed disk/tape solution where tape is used for tier 3 storage:
    http://bit.ly/1jPCgf9
    20 Jul 2014, 04:35 PM Reply Like
  • Monolith Investments
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    Comments (140) | Send Message
     
    Nice. Good find.
    20 Jul 2014, 04:48 PM Reply Like
  • Monolith Investments
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    Some background on Jeff Eberwein:

     

    http://bit.ly/1cA3FvW.

     

    There is no substitute for doing your own research and diligence, but always good to know who you are investing along with.
    19 Jul 2014, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6148421: Error detection and recovery for sequential access devices in a fibre channel protocol.

     

    This enables minimal resends in case of errors during data transfers in a fibre channel network. Complicated protocol that has, according to the filers, numerous advantages over existing technology. Not sure if anyone uses this one. Expires on May 30, 2017.
    20 Jul 2014, 09:29 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6148421 has been assigned to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:22 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6151331: System and method for providing a proxy FARP for legacy storage devices.

     

    The title probably says everything. I don't think the legacy storage systems from 1998 are still very important.

     

    This patent expires on Sep 23, 2018.
    20 Jul 2014, 04:41 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6151331 has been assigned to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:23 AM Reply Like
  • PICOLOMINI
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    Comments (1277) | Send Message
     
    I once had a patent in my name with the Deutsche Patentamt I could have filed for an extension after 10 years for another 7(? ) years if I had seen use for it.
    What are the chances in this case?
    21 Jul 2014, 03:44 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » US patents expire 20 years after filing, with very few exceptions.
    21 Jul 2014, 08:44 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,205,141: Method and system for un-tagged command queuing

     

    Seems to be a trivial patent for sending multiple commands to devices that need to be idle before accepting the next command. Probably this patent is obsolete with todays devices. But the claims section is extremely detailed, so I wonder if I am missing something.

     

    Expires on June 30, 2019.
    21 Jul 2014, 08:51 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6205141 has been assigned to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:24 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6314488: System for segmenting a fibre channel arbitrated loop to a plurality of logical sub-loops using segmentation router as a master to cause the segmentation of physical addresses

     

    This discovery tries to make so called fibre channel arbitrated loops (token rings) faster and more scalable. Seems to be non-trivial and still important today. I suppose this is a valuable patent.

     

    Expires on May 12, 2018.
    22 Jul 2014, 04:33 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6314488 has been assigned to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:15 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,341,315: Streaming method and system for fiber channel network devices

     

    This patent expires on February 26, 2019.

     

    This is a protocol for transferring streaming data between fibre channel host, router and scsi target. The protocol prevents buffer overflow within the router. By preventing error conditions the speed of data transfer is increased.

     

    I don't know if this technology is still used but I suppose so, or otherwise something similar is used. The patent is related to the patent they are trying to monetize at the moment: patent 6425035.
    24 Jul 2014, 03:57 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6341315 has been assigned to their limited partnership with Fortress (the general partner), kip cr p1 lp.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:29 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,392,570: Method and system for decoding 8-bit/10-bit data using limited width decoders

     

    Expires on Sep 14, 2020.

     

    Way of encoding data traffic in a fibre channel network. I don't really understand whether this invention today still has advantages. This might still be used but probably there are good workarounds as well.
    24 Jul 2014, 08:12 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6392570 has been assigned to their limited partnership with Fortress, kip cr p1 lp.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:31 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,643,693: Method and system for managing I/O transmissions in a fibre channel network after a break in communication

     

    Expires on September 15, 2018.

     

    Another protocol patent. Again I don't know whether this one is used today. It seems to be important, without an easy workaround. The patent is for maintaining state information such that renewed authentications between hosts and targets can be skipped when recovering from I/O failures. This greatly increases the speed of Fibre Channel networks.

     

    It seems that Crossroads consistently patented extensions and improvements on existing network protocols, already in the nineties. So that makes their claim that they patented 3 standards in their non 972 patents more likely.
    27 Jul 2014, 03:17 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6643693 has been assigned to the limited partnership.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:34 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,650,656: Method and system for reconciling extended copy command target descriptor lengths.

     

    This invention is probably obsolete. The invention deals with implementations of the extended copy command that behave slightly different from the standard. Fibre Channel to SCSI context. Only one claim.

     

    For more historic context see also http://bit.ly/1o5wssV
    and http://bit.ly/1o5wssX

     

    I think this patent expires on February 28, 2021.
    28 Jul 2014, 04:39 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6650656 is probably a non 972 patent, since a Google search reveals an assignment to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:12 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,654,824: High-speed dynamic multi-lane deskewer.

     

    Difficult to understand. Patent deals with transferring data over multiple lanes with timing issues such that it can demultiplexed afterwards. Very general patent for point to point data transfers. This could be a great patent, if their method actually works, but there could be an easy workaround as well.

     

    Expires on August 28, 2021.
    28 Jul 2014, 05:37 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6654824 is probably a non 972 patent, since a Google search reveals an assignment to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:09 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,668,290: System and method for controlling readout of frame data from buffer.

     

    Expires on May 8, 2020.

     

    Nice idea of adding an special bit to each word for early detecting the end of a frame in a fibre channel network. This facilitates faster reading of frame data. Bit trivial for a patent.

     

    The patent applies to the general idea, so no need for a fibre channel context, or using just one extra bit, etc. Because the patent is for a quite general software problem it might have value. In practice it could be difficult to monetize this patent.
    28 Jul 2014, 08:52 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6668290 is probably a non 972 patent, since a Google search reveals an assignment to Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:10 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,704,809: Method and system for overlapping data flow within a SCSI extended copy command.

     

    I think this is an important patent. It claims priority over patent 6,650,656, see comment above made on 28 July 4:39am. Despite the priority claim I don't see a direct relation between the 2 patents.

     

    Patent 6,704,809 is an auxiliary software patent to the router patent for fibre channel - scsi network communication, patent 6425035. Patent 6704809 make it possible to write a (big) file while the read operation from another or the same device is still in progress. This makes streaming data for large files possible.

     

    The patent expires on February 28, 2001.
    28 Jul 2014, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6704809 has been assigned to the limited partnership with Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:40 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,704,836: Method for dynamic control of concurrent extended copy tasks.

     

    Extended copy commands are executed by a copy manager. This device provides the processing capacity needed for copying. In the mean time the primary host can continue with its normal tasks without needing to allocate processing time to copying. The principle behind the extended copy command is simple, the implementation is not.

     

    This patent reserves an important part of the implementation of extended copy commands. The patent tells us that a copy manager should look whether there are free resources (buffers for temporary storage) before executing an extended copy command.

     

    Although this seems to be trivial it is still a patent, and a very general one. So this could be an important patent. The other patents on extended copy commands make this patent probably better enforcable.

     

    Expires on November 13, 2022.
    3 Aug 2014, 03:13 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6704809 has been assigned to the limited partnership.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:36 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6738,854 B2, May 18, 2004: this is a reexamination of the storage router patent. Apparently the reexamination went OK.

     

    So this increases the chances that the storage router patent is enforcable a lot. It decreases the chances on extra delays (through the request of another reexamination during the trials) a lot.

     

    This reexamination was requested during the trial between Crossroads and Chaparral A-00CA-21755 W.D. Tex., 2000. Would be interesting to check whether CRDS has won this case.

     

    This patent adds 135 days (beyond 31 Dec 2017) as well.
    3 Aug 2014, 03:45 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,718,402: Method and system for persistent unit attention in a fibre channel storage router.

     

    This patent supplements the other patents related to fibre channel network connected to scsi networks using a router. So it is relevant for the ongoing trials.

     

    The patent describes that and how a router should store state change messages from storage devices in the scsi network and when these should be forwarded to host system on the fibre channel. I think this is a valuable and important patent although it could be challenged. It might also be difficult to find out who infringes this patent.

     

    Expired 579 days after November 29, 2020, which is somewhere in the beginning of July 2022.
    3 Aug 2014, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6718402 has been assigned to thelimited partnership with Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 04:38 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,757,348: High-speed coordinated multi-channel elastic buffer.

     

    This patent is related to patent 6654824. It discusses how to send data over multiple transmission lines and how to demultiplex such data (point to point transmission). It goes a bit beyond my technical understanding but it seems a very general patent. If it survives a reexamination it is probably worth a lot.

     

    This patent has been assigned to the limited partnership with Fortress. The patent expires on October 2, 2022.
    5 Aug 2014, 06:03 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,804,753: Partitioned library

     

    Pretty trivial patent. I suppose it will be challenged. The invention is that tape cartridge slots (where a tape robot gets the tape from, or puts the tape in) should be partioned across different pools of hosts where each pool has the same tape storage system. The partitioning prevents conflicts, e.g. hosts accessing the same tape cartridge slot and therefore prevents hosts accessing the same tape.

     

    The workaround is using the same storage management system for all hosts such that you only need one pool.

     

    Expires on October 4, 2022, assigned to the LP with Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6848007: System for mapping addresses of SCSI devices between plurality of SANs that can dynamically map SCSI device addresses across a SAN extender

     

    This (software) patent could be the cornerstone of the cloud. The invention is a (maybe too trivial) way of addressing hosts and targets over different (storage area) networks.

     

    Expires on or around October 15, 2021. Assigned to the LP with Fortress.
    5 Aug 2014, 10:37 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » See http://bit.ly/1qXVWRh
    for a more high level overview of the patent portfolio from 2012.

     

    The storage router patent (current litigation) is the most cited. patent.
    7 Aug 2014, 04:06 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,894,979: Network analyzer/sniffer with multiple protocol capabilities.

     

    This patent claims the following:
    1. that a network analyzer/sniffer should show the interpreted data instead of the raw data. This was the correctness of the data can be easier verified.
    2. that such an apparatus should be able to interpret several different protocols
    3. that it's useful to sniff across more than one protocol at the same time, e.g. over 3 protocols should be possible as well. This way the data can be followed and verified easier over the network.

     

    I don't think this patent is very valuable since the revenue in network analyzers in the US is limited.

     

    This patent has been assigned to the limited partnership with Fortress. The patent expires at the beginning of February 2022.
    7 Aug 2014, 04:26 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,922,391: Method and system for decreasing routing latency for switching platforms with variable configuration.

     

    Could be a valuable patent if not challenged. It's probably used in every Fibre Channel Switch. It's more or less a software patent. While polling ports one a switch cpu can skip one instruction for the ports that are not operational (for example because no device is connected to these ports). The suggestion is that if port state is monitored by a separate switch cpu anyway then a switch can use this information to save time during polling ports. By skipping non operational ports a Fibre Channel switch can detect new traffic faster and therefore route frames faster.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. It expires somewhere in December 2022.
    8 Aug 2014, 05:35 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,965,934: Encapsulation protocol for linking storage area networks over a packet-based network.

     

    Fibre Channel networks for storage traffic are fast but limited in (geographic) size. The maximum distance is 30 km or so. The problem is that Fibre Channel messages don't mix with other protocols. In this patent they have designed a protocol to encapsulate fibre channel messages so that they can be sent over, for example, an IP network. With this encapsulation method different Fibre Channel networks can be connected.

     

    Probably a very important patent. It might be possible to get around this patent by designing a different protocol to encapsulate Fibre Channel messages, but that will probably be difficult.

     

    This patent is related to patent 6,848,007: System for mapping addresses of SCSI devices between plurality of SANs that can dynamically map SCSI device addresses across a SAN extender. See also above: http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    Expires somewhere in the second half of March 2022. This patent is part of the deal with Fortress.
    8 Aug 2014, 05:48 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 6,970,942: Method of routing HTTP and FTP services across heterogeneous networks.

     

    The invention could be valuable but seems to be a bit trivial: claiming that it is useful to split a company network into 2 parts: one part A with connections to/from the outside world via a gateway and an inner part B. Within part B are the storage devices on a Fibre Channel network. Part B is connected with part A via a switch. This patent also describes how a request from the internet should be routed to network part B.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. This patent expires at the end of May 2022.

     

    This patent is related to patent 6848007.
    9 Aug 2014, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
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    Author’s reply » Patent 6,977,897: System and method for jitter compensation in data transfers.

     

    I think this patent is related to the following patents I have studied so far:
    6,757,348: High-speed coordinated multi-channel elastic buffer.
    6,654,824: High-speed dynamic multi-lane deskewer

     

    It's best to read this patent (6,977,897) first before reading through the other 2 patents.

     

    I think this is a non trivial invention, a kind of software patent maybe. The fact that they seem to have 3 related patents makes it more likely that they can monetize this patent or one of these 3 patents. Therefore I suppose the patent is valuable.

     

    This patent expires somewhere at the end of August or at the beginning of September of 2022. It's part of the deal with Fortress.
    9 Aug 2014, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » http://bit.ly/Xbdqwl
    and
    http://onforb.es/XbeK2c

     

    Laches as a defense won't work anymore to escape from paying royalties.

     

    The links above discuss the SCOTUS/Petronella copyright case. The outcome was that the Supreme Court granted to claim copyright royalties 3 years back. In patent law there is a similar term: 6 years. With the recent outcome of this case companies can claim royalties for patents from up to 6 years ago.
    10 Aug 2014, 03:41 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 7,024,591: Mechanism for enabling enhanced fibre channel error recovery across redundant paths using SCSI level commands.

     

    This patents describes several ways for error recovery using backup transmission lines and ports. I think this is a good patent. In particular the ways of error recovery where new SCSI commands are used (vendor specific commands) could be valuable. It could be that some of these proposed commands are added to the SCSI standard, need to check this. So this one could be one of the 3 patents that Crossroads claims to be part of standards now.

     

    The patent is part of the deal with Fortress. The patent expires around June 12, 2023.
    15 Aug 2014, 11:25 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » After a quick check my conclusion is that it will probably be difficult to find anyone infringing patent 7024591.
    17 Aug 2014, 03:44 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » See also patent 7,350,114: Mechanism for enabling enhanced fibre channel error recovery across redundant paths using SCSI level commands
    7 Sep 2014, 02:58 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 7,127,572: Consolidation of unit attentions.

     

    This patent is a bit trivial, so I think it will be overruled in court. When, for example, a tape device changes tape (with the tape robot) it sends to the hosts a so called unit attention. But if the tape driver talks to a router then only the router gets this message from the tape. The router forwards the message to the host as soon as it does a (write) request via the router. But at that time the tape driver might have send multiple unit attentions (for example for multiple tape changes). The invention is that the router only forwards the last unit attention to the host since the other tape change notifications are not relevant anymore.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. This patent expires around the end of December 2024.
    15 Aug 2014, 11:37 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » See this SA article for an example of a patent that was overruled by the appeals court because the invention was too trivial. The article also describes the various legal institutions for patent litigation.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    17 Aug 2014, 03:41 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
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    Author’s reply » Patent 7,251,708: System and method for maintaining and reporting a log of multi-threaded backups.

     

    This patent seems to be trivial as well. It says that tape data can be read based on information written in a log file at write time. So instead of examining the meta data of each block of data on the tape one can use a log file to determine which blocks on the tape have to be read.

     

    The thing that doesn't make it entirely trivial is that they come up with an application where using a write time log file is the only practical solution to read data from a tape. This is the situation where multiple hosts write blocks of data to the same tape. When retrieving the data from one host one only need to look in the log file to determine which blocks have to be read. Otherwise the meta data of each block on the tape would have to be investigated even the blocks that were written by other hosts.

     

    So the solution might be trivial but the application could be new. So there is a good chance this patent holds in court, although it could be just 50%.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. It expires near the end of May 2024.
    23 Aug 2014, 09:06 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,254,329: Method and system for multi-initiator support to streaming devices in a fibre channel network.

     

    This is probably a valuable patent. There is a chance that it will be overruled in court but I think this chance is small. The invention is related to their router patent. By implementing a FIFO queue in the router (Fibre Channel to SCSI) errors when multiple hosts are accessing the same target (a tape) can be prevented. Such a FIFO queue contains commands for the target. A separate FIFO queue is implemented inside the router for each target.

     

    The patent is part of the deal with Fortress and expires around the beginning of July 2020.
    27 Aug 2014, 07:15 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,310,696: Method and system for coordinating interoperability between devices of varying capabilities in a network.

     

    SCSI (a storage protocol) has a request "INQUIRY". With this request a host can request the capabilities of a storage device. Sometimes this request goes via a router. If this router has more capabilities than the storage device the router can tweak the response with the extra capabilities of the router. To me this sounds pretty trivial, so I think it could be overruled by one of the various courts.

     

    But there is another way to look at it. This patent is a patent on a small functional detail of a storage router (Fibre Channel to SCSI). Crossroads has many patents involving storage routers. If a vendor copies multiple of such trivial patents then Crossroads probably has a good patent infringement case.

     

    The patent is part of the deal with Fortress and expires in October 2025.
    30 Aug 2014, 07:42 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,327,223: Method and system for distributing management information over power networks.

     

    I don't think this patent is worth a lot.

     

    Suppose I invent a brake for a bicycle. Then I apply for a patent. As usual my legal advisor reviews my application. He/she adds the following sentence: "Despite the current embodiment is within a bicycle the invention can be used to stop anything moving on wheels."

     

    If someone then uses the invention within a car it should be impossible to patent it again. But that's what is happening with patent 7327223. This patent claims that it is better to use a separate network over a power line for transmitting management information to/from storage routers. So the real invention is the network over an ordinary power connection, which Crossroads tries to patent again but then implemented within a router.

     

    BTW, it is handy to transmit management info to/from storage routers via a separate network because then the management traffic does not compete with the data traffic (data to/from a tape). It is also handy to use power lines for this separate network, in fact that's a great idea. However, having looked at the formulation of the patent I think there is a big chance this patent will be overthrown in court.

     

    See also my comment on patent 7310696. Again, if a company uses many of these small patented improvements within their storage router Crossroads may have better chances to monetize this patent.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. The patent expires in August 2025.
    31 Aug 2014, 07:44 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,333,489: System and method for storing frame header data.

     

    I think that this invention will hold in court, and if so, then it is very valuable. It claims that on the receiver port of a fibre channel switch header data of each received frame should be stored in a separate fifo queue. With such a queue a switch can faster decide where to route the frame to.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. This patent expires in October 2021.
    7 Sep 2014, 02:54 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,370,173: Method and system for presenting contiguous element addresses for a partitioned media library.

     

    I'm a bit sceptical about patents where the invention is nothing more than a one-to-one mapping. So I don't think this patent holds up in court but if it does it is very valuable.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. This patent expires in December 2025.
    8 Sep 2014, 02:41 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,415,564: Method and system for coordinating interoperability between devices of varying functionality in a network.

     

    This patent is the same as patent 7310696. See also my previous comment: http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. Patent 7145564 expires on December 2024.
    9 Sep 2014, 01:39 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,424,075: Pseudorandom data pattern verifier with automatic synchronization.

     

    Could be a valuable patent since it deals with a very general technical problem: the synchonization of the sender and receiver side of a transmission link after a reset.

     

    That said, it could be that there are workarounds.

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress and expires in October 2026.
    12 Sep 2014, 01:38 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,424,075: Pseudorandom data pattern verifier with automatic synchronization.

     

    This invention seems to be a combination of 2 other patents. As such it is less trivial and better monetizable the 2 previous inventions. These are patents 6804753 and 7370173. That this invention corresponds to multiple patent applications is a good sign as well.

     

    See also my previous comments http://seekingalpha.co...
    and
    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. The patent expires in April 2025.
    12 Sep 2014, 11:59 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,448,049: System and method of supporting kernel functionality.

     

    This patent claims a kernel (main part of a computer operating system) design. The invention is that complicated tasks can be delegated to the user space (programs outside the kernel), using a messages and queues and a job manager. This keeps the memory footprint of the kernel low. The invention also keep thr kernel relatively easy to debug.

     

    An important application is authentication in a storage router. the complex mathematical functions for authentication can be executed outside the kernel. So it's a great invention. That said I believe that other parts of the linux kernel are patented as well and these patents have not been monetized yet. Ok, microsoft did monetize some linux related patents, http://zd.net/1md28md

     

    This patent is part of the deal with Fortress. The patent expires probably in August 2025.
    17 Sep 2014, 01:34 AM Reply Like
  • Steven Couche
    , contributor
    Comments (295) | Send Message
     
    Incredible work Ruerd. Based on what you've seen, could you give a quick percentage breakdown of patents under the classifications of "no hope, doubtful, maybe, there's potential, and a very good possibility of monetization"? I'm not super tech savvy but a general idea of what you're finding would be great. Thanks. Also, how do you pronounce your first name? jw
    19 Sep 2014, 09:51 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately I can't give these percentages as I am only less than halfway reading. These patents try to protect separate but related inventions. So to monetize them clearly requires a strategy rather than just sueing other companies based on infringement of one or two patents.

     

    I will give you a list of patents I like most at a later time.

     

    My name is from a Dutch minority whose language I don't speak. Dutch people pronounce it as Ruurt. Some will pronounce it as Ru-ert, in any case with a t in the end, according to dutch spelling rules.
    20 Sep 2014, 01:43 AM Reply Like
  • Snoek
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Fryslan Boppe! Long Crossroads and exciting times ahead of us!
    20 Sep 2014, 02:55 PM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,447,85: System and method for message and error reporting for multiple concurrent extended copy commands to a single destination device.

     

    Trivial patent. The invention suggests maintaining a log inside a storage router. In this log for each extended copy command the host and the destinations (tape device) should be stored. The log entry should be used when the destination issues a message to the host (via the storage router) such as an error or warning.

     

    Though this could have been invented by anyone skilled in the art many of these inventions together might not be trivial. This could be the case with Crossroads 972 and non-972 storage router patents.

     

    One could compare this situation with Apple's patents on the first iPhone. Separately they might be all trivial, but together they are something new. Therefore Samsung has to pay for copying all these new features.

     

    The patent is part of the deal with Fortress. The patent expires around June 1, 2023.
    21 Sep 2014, 07:57 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Correction: patent 7447852 expires around June 1, 2024. Note also the correction of the patent number itself.
    21 Sep 2014, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • tromur
    , contributor
    Comments (489) | Send Message
     
    What do you make of the new 12mln registration?
    21 Sep 2014, 10:14 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Not great at all but at least it will provide Crossroads cash for the litigations, for growing StrongBox sales and maybe for paying back the Fortress debt.
    23 Sep 2014, 03:00 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Patent 7,451,291: System and method for mode select handling for a partitioned media library.

     

    This is more or less a specialization/applica... of the earlier partitioned media library patents. As I wrote before I don't think these patents have much value.

     

    See also my previous comments.
    For patent 6,804,753: http://seekingalpha.co...
    For patent 7,370,173: http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    Patent 7,451,291 expires in October 2025. It's part of the deal with Fortress.
    23 Sep 2014, 02:58 AM Reply Like
  • Ruerd Heeg
    , contributor
    Comments (1248) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » See the exhibit attached to the recent S1 filing for an update on the patent monetization plans from Crossroads:
    http://1.usa.gov/1rjRFEF

     

    First they said they the non 972 patents applied to 3 industry standards, in the exhibit they say that patents apply to 4 industry standards.

     

    And also "We have currently budgeted the following amounts for expenses related to ‘972 patent maintenance, prosecution, inter partes review, and litigation: fiscal Q4 2014: $360,000, FY2015: $3.3 million and FY2016: $2.4 million."
    24 Sep 2014, 07:59 AM Reply Like
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