W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > January 2008

Re: Patents to be Auctioned

From: Dudley Mills <dudley.mills@bigpond.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:45:34 +1100
To: <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000501c85c7f$5905bf50$0100000a@Varanusprisca>
Andrea,
 
I hope it might be helpful to you to read a little about what patents
are. I would hope that your work with BOOTStrep might give rise to
important Intellectual Property which demonstrates its value by being
commercially exploitable. Links:
http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/patents/what_index.shtml
http://www.epo.org/patents/Grant-procedure/About-patents.html
 
>> I anticipated the extraction of contact, classification and  
>> geographic semantic data from web pages and its incorporation in  
>> searchable databases.
>
> Can a patent cover something like this ?
> a "database" is almost "searchable" by definition. For the rest, what  
> does it mean ? That I if I make a script that fetch and store  
> geografic information from web pages, this is illegal ? No matter  
> that I made it even without ever by far having heard if the patent,  
> or any tools developed on it ?
> I guess your patent covers some specific technology, algorithm, or  
> software...
 
Pantents not only can cover that sort of thing but my patents have
been granted and do cover it. Novel combinations form an important
aspect of patentability.
 
As Renato (I think) said, I may have not been the first to think
of this technology but a diligent search has failed to reveal
any documentary or other physical evidence of such thought before I
filed my patent application (1999/Feb/21), and thus, at least,
I was the first to document, by means of a patent, the
technique.
 
Extracting and storing geographic location information would
infringe (be illegal) my patents in the jurisdiction in which the
patents are in force, which is the USA only. You do not need to
know of the patents to infringe them. Usually non-commercial
infringement is ignored, however, the person who supplied
tools to allow to infringement can be considered a contributary
infringer in some jurisdictions.
 
>> I agree that the concept of semantic data is very old and I feel it  
>> is well past the time that the concept should have had substantial  
>> commercial importance on the internet.
> Yes, but commercial value comes with real value. You what are you  
> bringing to the people ? If it is something they already have, looks  
> more like you are taking away something.
 
In the end the marketplace decides what is valuable. I know of no
commercially significant application currently in use. I'd like
to be shown to be wrong on that. The value of the patents at the
moment is prospective; to provide protection to the investment
that would be made.
 
>> Fair criticism if I had the fire that you espouse but I am  
>> retired. If Google or Microsoft want the patents, I'd consider  
>> those to be good homes.
>
> I would be curious to know which would be the bad ones.
 
The simplistic answer is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll
The more sophisticated answer is that there are shades of troll
and that trolls have a useful function in the Intellectual Property
"ecology".
 
>> Years ago I asked W3C if they had any use for the patents (donated  
>> free). They suggested I setup (yet) another working group. If free  
>> does not do the job, I'll try not-free.
>
> I have the feeling that the only one one could make money with these  
> kind of patents is sue other people unaware of them
 
The patents have been on public record since being granted. No need
for anyone to be surprised.
http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
 
 

 



Received on Monday, 21 January 2008 22:50:04 GMT

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