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> We spend x billion a year on research and development. How can
> you tell us that our application approval pivots on the consesus
> of a newsgroup.
Not the CONSENSUS of a newsgroup ... only its ability to provide
DISCOVERY. The decision is still, ultimately, in the hands of the
patent arbiter. All that opening up this process would do is to insure
that if prior art existed that it could be brought forth through a
normal discovery process. This is done by the W3C all the time when
they are attempting to insure that the patents that they are filing do
not infringe existing patents.