[Linux-aus] Dealing with the patent process

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Wed Aug 4 08:58:02 UTC 2004

Hi Ronald,

On Wed, 2004-08-04 at 08:50, Ronald Skeoch wrote:
> On Wed, 2004-08-04 at 08:28, Arjen Lentz wrote:
> > Hi Pia,
> > 
> > On Tue, 2004-08-03 at 15:02, greebo at pipka.org wrote:
> > > [...] I'm thinking we get the Open Source 
> > > community (including companies of course) involved in the patent process. 
> > > Apparently patents have a public period where people can speak up about any 
> > > prior art. I suggest we tie into this, and start getting involved with 
> > > speaking up about patents. This means they won't necessarily get passed (if 
> > > we have good cases) and then after say 6-12 months, we will potentially have 
> > > a good paper trail of the issues the FTA has locked us into concerning 
> > > patents. Other ideas are much welcome :) 
> > 
> > I haven't checked for AU specifically, but traditionally the entire
> > process is public. A patent is not a secret thing. Everybody can look at
> > the whole story, they're just not allowed to implement it without
> > licensing. This protection in essense comes into force the moment the
> > patent application starts, because the review process of an application
> > depends on feedback from experts in the field.
> > In practise, this feedback loop is broken in many countries (most
> > notably the US) but the process itself has not changed. So the "hooks"
> > are there for anyone who is paying attention.
> > 
> > So I think you are very right. We basically need to track patent
> > applications, identify software patents and other relevant issues,
> > inventorise them (website) and find the prior art that inevitably
> > exists.
> > 
> > I know that you can set up triggers on the AU trademark site to be
> > notified when item with certain keywords are added to the database,
> > likely something similar is possible for patent applications. Or just
> > having people take a daily peek to identify stuff that needs adding to
> > the list. Once identified, handling by a broader group of people becomes
> > possible. Particularly if we can categorise.
> > 
> I believe you are missing the point
> we are not talking about australian patents but,
> already issued US patents issued through a broken system
> being accepted here.
> perid of review is over, to overturn same will cost you say $us 500K
> (we know that Microsoft and others will defend strongly)

I don't think I'm missing the point at all.
Remember: think globally, act locally.

I don't have any direct US patent connections, but I already talked to a
colleague who is deeply involed with the anti-software patent issue in
the EU. This to see how we can organise and work together on this
internationally, and perhaps pick up on any initiatives already in

Also, I would urge you to also take a peek at my later posting about
navigating the AU patent resources. The examples I spotted of HP patent
applications shows that already under our current AU laws, some
international patents have been at least creeping into the country as an
application. I.e. someone files in the US, goes international, so it
ends up here (and in many other countries). If unopposed, and not caught
by the AU examination process, it becomes a real patent here too.

Do NOT assume that the current process in the AU prevents these nonsense
patents. I don't think we have been that lucky.
Yes with the FTA things are likely to get MUCH worse, but biting into
the already existing situation is a very good place to start. Right now.

Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
Brisbane, QLD Australia
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

Brisbane 6 Sep 2004 (5 days): MySQL & PHP Training
Training,Support,Licenses,T-shirts @ https://order.mysql.com/?ref=marl

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