Subject: Re: [openip] Re: "rights" and "freedoms"
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 04:30:33 +0000

On 10/22/1999 Richard Stallman wrote:
>     I'm also trying to form an idea around the concept of a title insurance
>     company, hampered greatly by the fact that I don't know exactly what one
>     is, though the general sense I've got is that they're an agency which
>     will research a title (usually land) and find out if anyone has a lein
>     on it, with insurance to compensate you in the event that there is one
>     that didn't turn up in their search.
> Insurance companies can work when the risks can be quantified.  The
> risk of being sued for patent infringement is probably very hard to
> quantify.

Apologies for delay -- I've had trouble keeping up with the FSB traffic

The risk here isn't infringement, it's loss of patent registration,
analogous to loss of land title.  Terms might vary, but in its simplest
form, the insurance component might cover only USPTO dues and customary
filing expenses.  An extended form of coverage might allow purchase of a
policy offering some specified benifit in the event the patent fails to
hold.  So -- a run-of-the-mill patent might come with a US$5k policy. 
An industry-making patent might run US$1b.  The risk would be a fixed
quantity, and the probability of invalidation should be a quantifiable

I'm grasping generally along the idea of having the USPTO provide this
service.  Essentially putting their registration services at risk. 
Political likelyhood nil or less.

The way the USPTO works currently, to take a real-estate analog, would
be like a land office which simply said "how big is the estate", without
concern for where it lay or if someone else already occupied the
location.  Just printing out land titles....

I know this is very simplistic view of the problem with patents, and the
solution is pie-in-the-sky, but....  WTF, it's a start.

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

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