In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, Graham Klyne typ

 >>As many of us are finding, it seems to become more and more difficult to 
 >>develop or implement a standard without tripping over somebody-or-other's 
 >>patent for some piece of technology that many of us would regard as fairly 
 >>obvious or lacking in novelty.

prior art can be in the eye of the beholder

for example, i remember distinctly havign a discussio nwith a bunch of
cambridge university computer lab people about 
Noke Lick [TM] (sorry, Zero Click) technology based on eyetraxx ideas
(apologies to pat cadigan) -
basically, by using specular reflection analysis, its possibler to see
where on a screen someone is looking (quite easy) - by tracking this
over tiem as they browse, its possible to come up with a 
"signature" for when someone is about to click on "buy", and avoid
mouse use altogether

one of the grad students in cambrisdge on the nemesys project hacked
up a demonstrator (cool operating system work btw) - this would
predate a certain companies claim, and was certainly talked about in
public at a UK national, open workshop.... it is also
more obviosuly innovative, contains actual technology and
developement and testing time, and  is possibly not obvious (some of
the details at least are quite tricky)

i would claim that this undermines any system with clicks>0,
but some people might not....
 >>The recent announcement from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office about 
 >>overhauling their scrutiny of applications for online business patents 
 >>seems to imply a tacit acknowledgement that their is a problem with the 
 >>review process with respect to discovery or prior art or determination of 
 >>novelty in a claimed invention.
 >>My thought is this:  I'd like to see a presumption of lack of novelty if an 
 >>idea gets raised in a public forum, even if it happens _after_ a patent has 
 >>been applied for, unless it can be shown that the information came from 
 >>leakage of proprietary information.
 >>Maybe such an approach might ameliorate the "gold rush" mentality to be the 
 >>first to slap a patent on an idea or technique that is coming to be 
 >>accepted art in the normal process of technology evolution.
the other problem with patents is that challenging a patent after the
fact is typically as expensive as the lawyers that the richest
companies are prepared to pay for

given the intention of patents (to avoid company secrets, and to
promote reward for genuine innovation), this is the real problem, and
reflects  a mainly US problem with the way that lawyers are usually
rewarded and not punished for litigation - a profit/loss share
approach to defending patents might make this a more level playing
field....or a professional peer review process



p.s. can we get below 0 clicks? perhaps: one small delta
is for us to have to do a noke-lick to NOT buy something online...

p.p.s this mail was composed on 1/4/00, if not sent then:-)

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