t byfield on Thu, 21 Oct 1999 18:05:55 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> patentbusters.org/com

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From: "Doug Hudson" <dthudson@concentric.net>
To: <fsb@crynwr.com>
Subject: Re: An idea for opening software patents...
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 10:26:25 -0400

The problem is current software/e-com patents are not "inventions" but
"land grabs."  People & corps are trying to cover well known business
models (now patentable, by the way) by adding the electronic element. 
Instead of rewarding invention with a limited monopoly, the result is an
enforceable monopoly protecting corps from competing with their electronic
businesses (oh, and preventing anyone without their own patent pool from
writing software with any modicam of complexity) 

There is a way to take care of obnoxious software patents.  Invalidate
them the same way the best software is written... 

When a questionable patent comes to someone's attention, they can
"nominate"  it to a central site.  Then, instead of one person spending
days or weeks looking for prior art, let everyone look at it and
contribute their prior art, by distributing the work.  The art stays in a
database attached to each patent, and, poof, people can get an idea of how
broadly the patent would be interpreted or how likely it would be enforced
at all.  It's not a "legal"  prior art search, but it would probably give
everyone a better idea of what a patent is worth than any PTO search.  And
you wouldn't have to wait until a lawsuit w/ lawyers to find out. 

This is taking what Netscape, and W3C did in the last two years, and
taking it to the next logical step. 

Right now, I have two domains (patentbusters.org & patentbusters.com), and
I have a few law students who know IP/software who'd be willing to help. 
The site should be up in about 2 weeks, and any recommendations would
help, and any technical assistance would spped up the time frame. 

The scary thing is, even setting up a simple web organization like this
may violate some unknown e-commerce patent lurking out there...  I
recently saw a patent owned by IBM for any hyperlinked document which
contained links to audiovisual objects, and another for any hyperlinked
document which links to an "imbedded" hyperlinked document.  This is
ridiculous, and I think this idea may help

-Doug Hudson

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