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   RE: [xml-dev] Another Microsoft XML patent

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Problem here is, Rick, that there wasn't that much 
innovation.  A lot of burglary and rebranding, but 
not as much innovation as is claimed.  I don't 
disagree with your essential point that cooperation 
is the better way, but if patents aren't filed, 
under the current system, the small companies will 
be muscled out of business.


The reason to fix the global patenting systems 
is that they have become a means to extort.  A 
company with means to file patents can invade the 
technical means of markets that they don't participate 
in and use their size (yes, the bigCos do waaay 
more damage than the little companies all hype 
to the contrary) to hold the innovative companies 
hostage.  So the little companies with marketshare 
MUST patent as fast as they can.  Does that suck? 
You betcha.

The web made this worse.  Email and other means to 
send messages directly to desktops have made it 
possible to get a thin patent, then use the medium 
(including lists like this) to ensure knowledge of 
the patent goes directly to the CIOs, CEOs and other 
corporate officers who are then obligated to go 
to their legal departments with the information.

An interesting read is the history of the Wright 
Brothers struggle to get their patents.  Because 
at that time patent applications meant one could not 
demonstrate the invention, they had to face down 
the whole country of France where it was claimed 
powered flight was invented.   They had to fight 
Curtis who got an advanced look at the Wright Flyer 
and ripped off their concepts for wing warping. 

So, having the web where we regularly discuss our 
ideas is a pretty dangerous thing UNLESS one wants 
to be open with ideas.  Even then, anyone with 
Google or a good spider can harvest these lists 
daily and patent like mad.  


From: Rick Jelliffe [mailto:ricko@allette.com.au]

Unfortunately, just because the USPTO is a laughing stock among
programmers does not mean that its influence is not strong elsewhere.
Venture capitalists still look to pupported IP when evaluating companies,
and researchers are frequently rated by how many patents they get.

Looking at the major advances or sources of innovation in the last 15
years, the WWW and XML in particular, they come out of co-operation and a
renunciation of the private ownership/control of infrastructure standards.


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