W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > September 2003

Re: Ray Ozzie claims prior art in Lotus Notes

From: Hector Santos <winserver.support@winserver.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 17:01:31 -0400
Message-ID: <014c01c37bcc$8b6c6ef0$d3232243@FAMILY>
To: <public-web-plugins@w3.org>


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eike Pierstorff" <eike.pierstorff@dynamique.de>

> > However, for the majority, their first adventure into the
"telecomputing"
> > market was when the Internet appeared and ISPs became to offer
> > Internet PPP accounts.
>
> I don't even know how those BB Systems you speak of work. But my first
> expericence with telecomputing was the German BTX-System (which might be
the
> same thing), which was introduced by the Deutsche Post in Germany when I
was
> 6 years old (that is, 1977).

Hhmmmm, interesting. I don't recall ever hearing about BTX.  Thanks for
pointing it out. The first one I was familar with was the Minitel system
(and system it was based on).

> A BTX decoder used a Television set as a
> display, was connected to the telephone line, you dialed an number on your
> phone and a page showed up on yout TV set, including fancy graphics and
> everything (as long as you idea of fancy graphics included brick-sized
> pixels).

Like Atari's Pong? <g>   I recently saw the movie "Core" where a "complex,
can do anything" computer hacker relaxed by reverting to back to playing the
simplistic pong game. :-)

> I guess technically this is not prior art to the Eolas Patent, but within
> the limitations of the time it did everything an Internet Browser does
> today.

Well, not really.

One of the key parts of the technology is that the client side "the TV"
learns new functionality.

However, as you agree, this has been an obvious and natural evolution in the
telecomputing market place.  Eolas Patent was not the first system to making
the client "smarter."

To me, thats really the essential "part" of this techology.  Who cares about
anything else.  Its the ability to teach the client more, to learn how to
handle "new data-driven" algorythms (DDA) in an automated fashion.

If the client had every feature or capability to handle every new DDA, then
it wouldn't be an issue.

But what the today clients do have is the ability to learn and that is
something that has always been there, otherwise we wouldn't be where we are
at today.

So what this patent seems to say is:

            "Hey, I own the idea of having a program on your PC that
attempts to use the basic
            learning  functionality of the PC.  So if you want to teach your
client something new,
            you can't without licensing the idea from me."

I have less of a problem, but still a problem, if it was:

            "Hey, I own the idea of having HTML BROWSER on your PC that
attempts to use the basic
            learning  functionality of the PC to learn using an HTML OBJECT
EMBEDDED tag concept.
            So if you want to teach your client something new using HTML
OBJECT embedding,   you
            can't without licensing the idea from me."

You see what I mean?    But to me, this is a copyright, not a patent, which
I don't have a problem with.

In short, the evolution of telecomputing was always about teaching the
client more than it can do.

Just imagine if his patent broad claims is what it is and is determine to be
binding, then there are MANY systems that will be in jeopody:

    - Smarter TV Set Boxes,   Direct TV can no longer "teach the box" new
user ergonomic tricks
    - Small Devices/Cells,  you can't teach it any more functionality.

etc.

> So plug-ins where a bit like Henry Ford
> saying "Let's add some wheels to this car" - it sure works better that
way,
> but then you wouldn't be too impressed by this invention.

Good point.  Using FORD is a good example of how a vendor used a single
concept of simplicity, low cost entry, refused to change with new technology
until it was too late.  By the time, Ford created new line of cars, it had
lost 50% of the market place.   If FORD had the patents of cars and its
parts,  we might be still driven a Model T <g>

> Of course, a Patent is (or rather should be) more about technical
> implementation and not about how a thing looks to the "average user", so
I'm
> not sure what I'm trying to prove (except that many a user wouldn't
> understand what the excitement is all about).

I agree, there are conflicts with the new generation of software patents.

By the way, there is precedence for patenting how a "visual pattern"
appears, especially if you link that pattern to present a process or
measuring system.  I'm familiar a few of these patented patterns ideas, such
as an old Westinghouse patent of using a perfect circle to represent the
steady state operation or properties of a process (like a Nuke plant) and
then using the distortions of the circle to represent non-steady state
conditions or properties.  An operator/user looking at the screen can
quickly learn what each distortions can mean and act on it much faster than
looking at numbers.   This patent is expired I believe, but if I recall, it
was also encapsulated with copyrights because the circles and its distortion
tells a story about the behavior of (these) systems.  Its an old patent
though.   Similarly,  I recently recall seeing on TV a new "logo" like
concept for music where you using "art language" to create music.  So that a
new unique "symphony" is orchestrated for each unique art work.  I reminder
the developer drawing in the "patent pending" words in nearly every
paragraph spoken.

Sincerely,

Hector Santos, CTO
Santronics Software, Inc.
http://www.santronics.com
305-431-2846 Cell
305-248-3204 Office
Received on Monday, 15 September 2003 17:01:41 UTC

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