RE: They patented IRC!

David G. Durand (
Thu, 28 Jan 1999 10:14:23 -0500

Gavin wrote:

>...not to mention DynaText, which used roughly that model for SGML document
>back in '89 or so....

Hell, the company that I worked for out of school (failed startup) had
generic stylesheets, frame-based layout, and generic tagging (based on the
SGML draft) all working in '84. The question that seemed odd to me is that
the notion of styles _per frame_ seems relatively useless, but seems to be
the core of the claim as described.

Given the sloppiness of the patent office in checking prior art in software
patents, I still wonder if any of them are going to hold up in court...
I've heard of very few software patents that are in the slightest way
surprising or "new". Not none, just few.

I'd be happier overall if the term for software patents were weakened to a
mere 3-5 years or so -- you know enough time to create a market and exploit
your cleverness reasonably without stopping forward progress in the
industry. This obvious remedy seems under-advocated, as the software
community seems split by a false dichotomy between advicates of "freedom"
and those of "total monetary domination".

-- David
David Durand \
Boston University Computer Science \ Sr. Analyst \ Dynamic Diagrams
MAPA: mapping for the WWW \__________________________