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RE: Interwoven Patents Code Versioning

From: Greg Hudson <ghudson_at_MIT.EDU>
Date: 2003-02-26 00:56:01 CET

On Tue, 2003-02-25 at 16:26, Kean Johnston wrote:
> I think that just goes to show how bogus the claim is. Not only is
> there prior art, but it is also a very obvious way of doing things,
> and I *THINK* ... I am no lawyer ... but I THINK that patent law is
> sensible enough to not allow you to patent obvious concepts.

Patents are required to be innovative, but the patent office doesn't set
a very high bar for software patents. In general, the combination of
any two well-established techniques seems to count as innovative,
depending on what examiner you get. (The canonical old example is a
patent on the combination of multiple windows and scrolling text within
those windows.) I believe this is a consequence of how the patent
system works; examiners will get more crap for saying "this isn't
innovative" and having a court disagree than they will by saying, "sure,
I guess it's innovative" when it's not.

Also, once a patent has been granted, courts will presume that the
patent office was correct about things. It's much easier (though still
very hard) to prove that the patent office was wrong about prior art--a
nice, objective standard--than it is to prove that something wasn't
really innovative after all.

(That's all I will say about general patent law, since the above
discussion doesn't really relate to Subversion.)

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Received on Wed Feb 26 01:02:21 2003

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