Subject: Re: [Freesw]
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 11:03:32 -0400 (EDT)

Bernard Lang writes:
 >   - 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.

The flaw in your theory is that patent authors have no incentive to
find prior art, and patent examiners do not have the time or

I own 224 acres of land, the borders of which I have never walked the
entirety of, because some of them go through a wooded swamp.  Now, if
I was to post this land, the ownership of which is uncertain, and I
actualy posted someone else's land, I would be subject to a legal

If a patent author claims prior art -- someone else's idea -- then are
not subject to any penalty other than the loss of their patent, which
they never owned anyway.

And finally, isn't "finding prior art" the same thing as "finding
prior open source code"?  How can we make the first hard without
harming the second?

-russ nelson will be speaking at
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | Mailing lists should not set
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | Reply-To: back to the list!
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX  |