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Re: Patent pending: Network-based classified information systems.

From: Dudley Mills <dudmills@ozemail.com.au>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 00:28:22 +1100
Message-ID: <34EED676.569D@ozemail.com.au>
To: Matthew Lye <mlye@trentu.ca>
CC: www-talk@w3.org
> Matthew Lye <mlye@trentu.ca> wrote:
> >
> On 2/20/1998 12:04 PM, Tony Sanders wrote:
>
> >Maybe we need to start an organizational fund to fight patent abuses
> >such as trying to patent an HTML tag.
>
> Or trying to patent PostScript!
>
> Seriously, though, large organizations have much, much more to gain
> selling applications that use a 'public' protocol than they have to
> lose by investing in the development of that protocol in the first
> place, especially if they can influence the direction of development.
> Smaller organizations can't always absorb such development costs. Even
> if original-poster-dude's ideas are ultimately not marketable, in the
> general case labour's been invested...  and he doesn't have the same
> choice between trying to sell portions of 'water' (one kind of many)
> or specifying the nature of all water...
>
> I'm not sure you could even try to obtain a patent for something if
> you walked in calling it an 'HTML tag'.  You'd be laughed out of the
> office, no?  Wouldn't the use of the name somewhat undermine the case
> that the ...whatever... was not derivative?
>
> Somewhat not very articulately today,
> Matt.

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your comments. Yes, I would get a few strange looks.

The one of the rules about patentability of computer related inventions
in Australia is simple: what needs to be demonstrated is a "commercially
useful effect" (IBM v Commissioner of Patents). Like in the USA, "mere
data" is not patentable.

The USA rules, in contrast, are Byzantine. "Mere data" or
"non-functional descriptive material" (eg a sound recording) is not
patentable where as "functional descriptive material" (eg databases or
computer programs are patentable but only when embodied on something
physical (eg computer readable media) or embodied in a signal. The list
of requirements goes on. I have little doubt that the USA law will
become more inclusive as more cases are tried in the USA courts.
Eventually computer inventions will be treated much the same as any
other invention.

The concept of an HTML tag, as such, is not patentable: it is an
abstract idea: it does not relate to the practical arts. Possibly, a
simple HTML tag embodied on computer readable media or in computer
readable signals is not patentable. However, a novel HTML element or web
page containing structured data may be patentable as are novel
databases.

Kind regards,
Dudley Mills,
30 Hutchison Crescent, Kambah, ACT 2902, Australia.
phone/fax: +61-2-6296-2639
email: dudmills@ozemail.com.au
web: http://www.ozemail.com.au/~dudmills/
Received on Saturday, 21 February 1998 08:32:47 GMT

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