Subject: Re: [Freesw]
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 19:50:11 +0200

On Mon, May 14, 2001 at 08:48:59AM -0700, Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> Actually, anything will do.  The challenge is getting the PTO (or
> applicants) to look at it.  A number of recent patents have actually
> been invalidated by patents already in the patent database, let alone
> external prior art.  A lot of what's necessary is a change of heart at
> the PTO, and with applicants, to raise the bar on patenting.
> has possible problems, as RMS has pointed out.  So does
>, the company I helped to fund, which uses bounties to
> search out prior art.  But both also have benefits.
> One of those benefits is just raising the bar on the PTO and applicants,
> making it easier to shame them for not doing their homework, or making
> claims that opponents can more easily refute. 
> I think that the CMGI flap about their plan to assert the altavista
> search patents was so short because they realized pretty quickly that
> there was the potential both of significant public backlash AND
> invalidation of the patents due to prior art.
> So many things that we as a community think are obvious are not to the
> PTO, and lawyers actually counsel their clients not to search for prior
> art.  The advantage of is that it's a location that
> (assuming it gets enough visibility) people can't avoid citing.
> As RMS notes, those citations *can* be used to strengthen patents.  But
> they will also filter out some really obvious bad ones as well.

Can you name bad patents that free software programmers would have
taken the time and energy to put in a database such as
(not to mention $20)

The number of such patent should be an indicator of the utility you

and dont forget the negative effects.

>  Whether that's a good tradeoff or not is hard to tell.  On balance,
> I think it's probably a good thing.

Based on the above criterion, I strongly doubt it

... we have various list of bad patent, woulf they be in the database ?

One point is that free programmers will never discredit themselves
with such publications.


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