Re: 3V's "numerous patents"

Ka-Ping Yee (
Mon, 28 Jun 1999 10:24:08 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 28 Jun 1999, Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> Didn't you also write a MINSE-like filter to translate Chinese
> characters into inline .gifs?

Yup; that's "Shodouka". (The site is down right now,
though; the machine blew a gasket or something.)

> The way worked was publicly known more than a year ago,
> presumably more than a year before they applied for their patents.
> Thus the way worked is not eligible for patenting. However,
> you might have to get sued for patent infringement and prove this in
> court to get the patent thrown out.

Well, it's clear that and 3V work in completely
different ways; they're a client-side browser plug-in.
So if they wanted to patent the mechanism they're using
there's nothing i could do or want to do about it. I'm
just worried that in the attempt to make the patent as
broad as possible, they may try to get a patent on, say,
the inline note, or on the act of writing a comment on a
web page, etc.

Is this even possible? Am i being paranoid? There seem
to have been a lot of horror stories about silly patents
(on multimedia, pre-emptive multitasking, etc.).

> There's a service of the PTO called something like "invention
> registration", which costs on the order of $20, which gets your
> invention into the databases the examiners use when deciding if a
> patent is unoriginal. This may be helpful in preventing the patents
> from being issued.

Thanks for mentioning this! I'll look into it.

-- ?!ng