[OT] Re: Geoworks and their patent

Lee Anne Phillips leeanne at leeanne.com
Tue Jan 25 06:59:01 GMT 2000

At Monday 1/24/00 06:33 PM -0600, Len Bullard wrote:
>The lesson is:  patent as fast as you can.  MPEG does and they
>are going to make money.  Someone has to pay for the stock bubble.

The other lesson is, if you're a developer (or hire them), get yourself (or 
each of them) a hardbound lab notebook with numbered pages, about US$50 or 
so at your local stationer, and every time you (or your employees) think of 
something interesting that seems like a new idea, write it down in detail 
and have at least two witnesses sign and date it. That way, you too may 
have something to argue with when someone claims that there is no prior art 
and it may even be worth hiring an attorney if you hear that someone has 
patented "your" idea.

Half the software patents I've seen seem to be "clever" restatements of 
ideas that have been floating around for years, like patenting a doorbell 
because you put it on the flap of a tent, which no one had ever done before.

I strongly object to the whole idea of patenting software, which uses the 
legal fiction of a metaphorical machine to get around the fact that they're 
really patenting ideas and algorithms in thin disguise. The LZW "method" is 
an algorithm, not a machine, and should be no more patentable than the 
binomial theorem, which could just as easily have been swathed in a cloak 
of "machine" frosting and sold to the highest bidder if our acquiescent 
patent office had been around to cozy up to at the time. Feh!

The way to get rich off ideas is to have more of them and better ones, not 
throw up moribund fossil thoughts as a barrier to further innovation. IBM 
has one of the largest patent libraries in the world, which surely accounts 
for the fact that they're not exactly at the forefront of software 
development today. Having too many patents laying about is like hardening 
of the arteries; it will kill you sooner or later.

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at ic.ac.uk
Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/ or CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1
Unsubscribe by posting to majordom at ic.ac.uk the message
unsubscribe xml-dev  (or)
unsubscribe xml-dev your-subscribed-email at your-subscribed-address

Please note: New list subscriptions now closed in preparation for transfer to OASIS.

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list