Subject: Patents (was Re: DiBona, Allman, Tiemann, O'Reilly, Perens interview)
From: <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 12:50:54 -0800
Fri, 28 Jan 2000 12:50:54 -0800
On Fri, Jan 28, 2000 at 03:39:09PM -0500, Mark Shewmaker wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 28, 2000 at 11:19:47AM -0800, Michael A. Olson wrote:
> > Wired interviewed Chris DiBona (VA Linux), Eric Allman (Sendmail),
> > Michael Tiemann (Red Hat), Tim O'Reilly (O'Reilly), and Bruce Perens
> > (LinuxCap) yesterday.  The writeup is at
> > 
> >,1282,33853,00.html
> > 
> > Their concerns for Open Source:  patents, zealous enforcement of
> > proprietary IP rights, and too much money.
> Just as a quick FYI, the Open Patent License (
> is intended to address the first two problems.  The problem of having
> too much money, alas, is something that the world has not yet figured
> out a solution to.  :-)

I should probably take a look at that....

Just a thought:

We've been lamenting software patents for quite some time.  What I think
might effect a sea change in the perception of patents by the business
community are business process patents, especially, as was pointed out
by Lawrence Lessig in a piece to The Standard, "Patent Problems".
As he succinctly puts it:

    Every method of doing business in cyberspace by definition is
    instantiated in technology - code. Thus, every method becomes subject
    to a patent. print/1,1153,8999,00.html

Gregory Aharonian's PATNEWS newsletter today discusses the issue of
business patents.  His gem of the day:

    Interactive securities trading system
    Filed: Aug. 26, 1996

    What is claimed is:

    1. A method for trading securities between individuals, comprising:

    entering an offer of a first individual to trade a security on a first
    data processing system;

    transmitting the offer to additional data processing systems, including
    a second data processing system, over a public communication network;

    entering a reply of a second individual on the second data processing
    system, wherein the reply is in response to the offer;

    executing a trade of the security based on information contained in
    the offer for consideration specified in the reply to the offer, whereby
    the security is traded efficiently between the first individual and the
    second individual;

    transmitting to the second data processing system additional offers to
    trade in the security formed by additional individuals;

    ranking the offer formed by the first individual and the additional
    offers formed by the additional individuals according first to a price
    value, then secondly, according to a quantity value; and

    displaying the offer formed by the first individual and the additional
    offers by the additional individuals according to the ranking step on a
    graphical user interface on the second data processing system.

If you missed it, Greg follows:  "That's right, a securities trading
system where incoming bids are ranked by price and volume".

How novel.

The implication being, of course, that the idiocy of the PTO is now
coming of a stage where it impacts Wall Street and the ability of the
F-500 to transact daily business.  We bay be reaching a watershed at
which the breakage is so immediately apparent that there will be calls
for reform, from interests more monied and politically connected than
the (free) software industry.

Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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