[OT] Re: Geoworks and their patent

Edward C. Zimmermann edz at bsn.com
Tue Jan 25 12:44:10 GMT 2000

> The problem is that lately, the USPTO seems to be awarding patents that
> cover *all* possible means of achieving a particular outcome rather than
> specific implementations.  Merely thinking up a desirable result doesn't
> provide much to build on.  As someone once put it, it's like getting a
> patent on the broad concept of mechanically trapping mice rather than on
> the design of a particular mousetrap.
The key to understanding the current situation is the observation that one
can patent nearly anything if it meets certain formal requirements (which
for the USPTO is increasingly too a free-for-all to include not just algorithms,
natural laws, natural life forms but such things as business models). The patent
offices--- and this is not restricted to the USPTO---  have elected given "a
complexity of the material" to "...let the courts decide". In many ways the USPTO
have just taken the logical step to declare itself ill-suited to judge the
difference between a business plan, a machine or an animal. Given the (potentially
quite high) costs of a patent suit this has effectively flip-floped the original
motivations of patents. 

<A HREF="whois://rs.internic.net/ecz">Edward C. Zimmermann</A>
<A HREF="http://www.bsn.com/">Basis Systeme netzwerk/Munich</A>
Cellular: +49 (179) 205-0539

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