Re: [IWAR] Xerox Disclosure Journal

From: Lee Harvey Blotto (blottolhat_private)
Date: Tue Dec 23 1997 - 15:11:22 PST

  • Next message: Nick Halflinger: "Re: [IWAR] Xerox Disclosure Journal"

    ---almat_private wrote:
    > For example,
    > Someone wanting to control the future of a given 
    > technology could set up their company (even a dummy)
    > and then publish items for what would be the
    > next logical steps in the area.    
    Your concerns are based on a fundamental
    misunderstanding of intellectual property law as it
    exists today.  The "items" you refer to above would
    have to be inventions, not ideas.  They wouldn't be
    patentable since someone else ("someone" in your
    sentence above) had already invented them.  If they
    were only ideas, they're not "prior art".
    > They could then 
    > either slow that development drasticly or hold the 
    > ideas for a type of ransom.   The
    > "invention" does not have to actually exist.
    It has to be an invention though, not an idea.  It's
    difficult to understand what you mean when you say
    that the invention "does not have to actually exist"
    since, by definition, it does indeed have to exist in
    order to be an invention.  Are you talking about a
    working model?  That doesn't have to exist, but the
    invention - which is intellectual property, not
    physical - certainly does...or it's not an invention.
    > The applications of this technique go far beyond
    computer chips and
    > photocopies. A hostile country (working behind a
    front company) could
    > publish what are simply ideas for weaponry -- from
    laser cannons to
    > biochips. 
    Certainly - and that publication would have no effect
    whatsoever on patentability of inventions based on
    those ideas.  Had the "hostile country" actually
    *invented* the weaponry, of course, nobody else would
    be able to (legally) patent, since then it would
    indeed be prior art, published or not.
    Whether or not an idea has been published or not is
    irrelevant - it is an *invention* that must be
    published to constitute "prior art", not an idea.
    The Patent and Trademark Office says "A complete
    description of the actual machine or other subject
    matter for which a patent is sought is required" to
    obtain a patent - this is also what's required in
    "prior art".  The standards are the same for both -
    the idea that one can block an area from
    patentability by merely suggesting what could be done
    there is incorrect - indeed, the world of
    intellectual property law would be very different if
    it was. Again, the PTO says "The subject matter
    sought to be patented must be sufficiently different
    from what has been used or described before that it
    may be said to be nonobvious to a person having
    ordinary skill in the area of technology related to
    the invention."  In other words, just because you say
    "we could make a laser cannon and shoot down
    satellites with it" doesn't prevent someone from
    making and patenting such a device, since how to make
    one is "nonobvious" from your speculation.
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