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   Re: [xml-dev] Is the USPTO run by knaves or fools? - was Re: [xml-dev]US

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Michael Champion wrote:

> Back to the USPTO ... the best explanation I've heard for all this is 
> that the USPTO culture assumes that any previously patentable idea is 
> in their database.  Since software was not patentable for a long time, 
> many good software ideas were never submitted to the USPTO, hence were 
> never put in their database.  Thus, they are simply blind to the 
> innovations of the first 30 years or so of computer science and 
> engineering.  I have no idea of the source or the validity of that 
> hypothesis.

Furthermore, in the case of XML you have 30 years of worldwide uses of
markup languages for containing things, notably with ISO 8879 SGML
since 1986. 

There is absolutely no way that *anyone* can have a database of prior art;
Robin Cover's XML site is pretty good for somethings, and there are
a couple of books listing structures (mine and Dave Megginson's),
but these just scratch the surface.  

It is sad to see the USPTO become a laughing stock like this. Is it their
rules or practises or capabilities or the legislation they work under?
Perhaps all of them.  In Australia we have just negotiated a free trade
agreement with the US: as part of the free trade agreement we are
apparantly agreeing to accept US monopoly rights on intellectual
property: a complete farce!

Horribly, the world's hope now lies with PRC, Taiwan, Japan
and the less developed nations. If their leaders twig that US IPR
is a scam and refuse to sign up, it may help the West get in control.
Just like we are seeing that the developing nations are rejecting
standards that are tied to IPR and developing their own, I expect
at some stage the developing nations will just say "The US-lead
patent system is so obviously corrupt, we cannot accept any
software/business patents at all."  The problem is not
pirates from developing countries, it is privateers from established

One trouble I see with IPR is that officers of companies with
any significant IPR assets cannot really say "The system is crap"
without jeopardizing their company's assets and perhaps breaching
their fiduciary duty.  The logic of the game propels big companies
to grab IPR whereever they can just as it propels small companies
to have IPR to get investment.

Bt.w. I have a blog on this "MS XML Patent Machine patent in doubt"
at http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/4431 

Rick Jelliffe


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