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   Re: The next wave: patent your DTDs

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  • From: Francis Norton <francis@redrice.com>
  • To: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 15:02:04 +0000

Tim Bray wrote:
> It's interesting to note that the DTD is ambiguous and hence technically
> not XML - I'm sure the USPTO will detect this.
> I'm making an effort to let my amusement over the profound silliness of
> patenting a DTD counteract my disgust at the business climate that makes
> this kind of behavior thinkable.  -Tim
You might find this article http://www.around.com/patent.html (reported
in slashdot) by James Gleick interesting - it comes with the sincerest
endorsement the US Patent Office - they tried to prevent the New York
Times from publishing it.

I think the following passage gets to the heart of matters -

"Meanwhile, the dollars-and-cents reality of running the American patent
office has also encouraged the patent explosion. In 1991, the patent
office was cut off from general tax revenues and required to subsist
entirely on fees for its operating budget. The political argument was
that customers should pay for government services. Thus, officials think
of their fee-paying patent applicants as their customers: the more the
better, again. Examiners know that their year-end bonuses depend on
productivity. The people interacting regularly with patent officials and
examiners  their obvious clientele and customer base  are inventors
and inventor representatives.

Each morning, as Commissioner Dickinson arrives at his Crystal City
office, he walks past a framed poster bearing the motto:
                                                    Our Patent Mission
                                                To Help Our Customers
Get Patents   "

Someone remind me - where would the PC world be now if IBM had patented
their ROM BIOS?

Sorry to drift off-topic.


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