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Re: Interwoven Patents Code Versioning

From: Edward S. Marshall <esm_at_logic.net>
Date: 2003-02-25 21:25:38 CET

On Tue, Feb 25, 2003 at 08:42:43PM +0100, Alessandro Polverini wrote:
> Posted some hours ago on slashdot:
> http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/03/02/25/1736237.shtml?tid=103&tid=155&tid=156
> Do you think svn could be affected?

I haven't bothered reading through all the responses in the Slashdot
article ("Patents suck!", "Patents REALLY suck!", "I think that patents
suck in this obscure-yet-legally-interesting way!", yadda, yadda), but
reading through the patent itself, they seem to be claiming a system where
you have a development, QA, and production version of website (and very
specifically "website") data, using some kind of virtualized editing
process with a version history.

It's pretty specific in that it only applies to website development, and
the use of version control would seem to be secondary to that purpose (ie.
they seem to be patenting the combination of doing website development
using a version control system, with a specific breakdown of various
degrees of "liveness"). In other words, a version control system by itself
should not qualify as infringing; in reality, I don't even think a more
complicated web content management system using a version controlled
backend would qualify without REALLY straining their definitions.

If I'm reading this correctly, they filed for it back in 1998; I'd be
really shocked if there isn't prior art for this, because I know damn
well I was doing something similar for customer site development built
on rcs/CVS and a bunch of hacky shell scripts back then, and I certainly
didn't consider that to be a "cutting edge" approach at the time. :-)
(Hmmm, maybe *I* should have applied for a patent...doh! ;-)

Here's a direct link to the patent at uspto.gov, if anyone's into this
kind of thing:


I am not a lawyer. This should not be construed as legal advice. I don't
know nothin' about nothin'. Your cat Whiskers could probably give a more
legally-sound analysis. YMMV, HTH, HAND. :-)

Edward S. Marshall <esm@logic.net>
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.
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Received on Tue Feb 25 21:27:39 2003

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