An idea for opening software patents...

Robert M. Muench robert.muench at
Tue Oct 19 15:03:24 UTC 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Doug Hudson [mailto:dthudson at]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 4:26 PM
> To: robert.muench at; 'Ross N. Williams';
> openip at; rms at
> Cc: anicolao at; ghost at;
> weigel+ at;
> cowan at; Ken.Coar at Golux.Com; gnu at;
> graham at; fsb at;
> pleb at;
> license-discuss at
> Subject: Re: An idea for opening software patents...

> 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.

Hi, that's a good approach and uses the more-eye-balls strategy

> 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.

Well, that's one point but the input can be used to file an
objection to the PTO and try to get the patent invalid.

> Right now, I have two domains ( &

Cool names :-)

> and I have a few law students who know IP/software who'd be
> to help.  The site should be up in about 2 weeks, and any
> recommendations would help, and any technical assistance would
> up the time frame.

Great! This really sounds good. I think one of the best things
the law students could do is to work out a workflow how to write,
structure ,file, ... an objection against a publish patent. This
could be used by others as a check-list. Even better in the
Internet world would be an online-questionnaire and a nice
program, which 'writes' the objection conforming to the law
student's structure.

> The scary thing is, even setting up a simple web organization
> like this may violate some unknown e-commerce patent lurking
> there...

I don't see any problems here. I'm not aware of a patent about
web-pages (yet). And the other question is, if you don't earn
anything when infringing a patent I'm not sure if a patent
dispute will have any success.

Robert M. Muench, Karlsruhe, Germany
    ==> ask for PGP public-key <==

  When do you want to reboot today?

Use the free portable GUI Library
OpenAmulet from

More information about the License-discuss mailing list