Subject: Re: [Freesw]
From: "Brian J. Fox" <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 04:27:45 -0700

It seems to me that a searchable database of prior art is actually
useful for the purpose of showing that a patent shouldn't have been

The problem that many list members have with the concept of a prior
art database is that of its availability to the patent examiner and
patent creator.

Perhaps making the cost of using such a database prohibitive in the
general case is one solution.  For example, imagine the following
price model:

      1st Search of database: Free!
      2nd Search of database: $5,000
      3rd Search of database: $50,000
      4th Search of database: $500,000

So, the PTO can't use the service, and neither can patent-crazy

Or, perhaps simply explicitly stated: "The use of this database is
limited to the membership of the 'I Don't Like Software Patents' club.
To become of a member of the club, please mail your court case papers
to Prior Art Patent Database Club.  Memberships are granted on a per
case basis, and last only the duration of the case.  Memberships can
be revoked for any reason."

   Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 12:54:22 +0200
   From: Bernard Lang <>

     - 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

Allowed by the club.

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

Disallowed by the club.

     - 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.

Not addressed by the club.

     - 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.

Addressed by the club.

     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 ...

Back links automatically create a searchable database.  In fact, any
method of classification that is publicly available on the internet,
no matter how disparate, automatically creates a searchable database.

The only way to prevent a publicly indexed database of prior art is to
keep the database private.

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