Subject: Re: [Freesw]
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 12:54:22 +0200

On Sun, May 13, 2001 at 04:42:59PM -0400, Jonathan S. Shapiro wrote:
> > Russ Nelson writes:
> >
> > Seems to me that you could do the same thing with sourceforge CVS.
> > Take an MD5 of each project's CVS once a week, and a MD5 of that, and
> > publish it in a classified ad.
> That would not qualify as "properly cataloged". The key to a useful prior
> art library is being able to actually look up relevant prior art post-facto.
> Simply having a large, unindexed data set won't do.
> Jonathan

I believe "properly cataloging" is counter productive.

2 points:

prior art is useful only to those in the patent system ... not as a
source of information. ...  

  - It is especially useful to find how to write a patent so that it
will not be busted (by PTO or in court) because it forgot some prior

  - such a database is a good source of ideas for patents close to the
idea presented.... change some claims.  Defeating the whole purpose.

  - to have official prior art data-bases seems to weaken other
sources of prior art, though according to law or US constitution they
are as valid.

  - making prior art difficult to find is a deterrent to patenting,
and raises its cost through more expensive searches and insecurity as
to the actual existence of prior art.
    Expensive patents are economically more efficient, since people
will be less tempted to submit weak patents (there is economic
literature on this) ...
   and we wish to discourage patents.

  Any form of certifiable publication is sufficient, as the law is
  What we should do is publish prior art, for free, anywhere. And we
should centralize only a certification service, that garantees the
existence of those publications (somewhere on the web) when needed,
without being usable as an index. Links should be only from the
publication to the certification, not the reverse... but ther should
be a way to check that certifications are not bogus. maybe a
zero-knowledge kind of thing would help ...
  A nice topic for a new project.

  The fact that some courts have been in favor of extending the domain
of patentable ideas does not men that they are more lenient than USPTO
on prior art issues.  Actually, I remember reading the opposite a
while ago (sorry, no reference).

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