Re: IP: novel attack on bad patents

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Mon Jan 24 2000 - 13:38:00 MST ( writes:
>Mike Linksvayer forwards:
>> <>.
>> By raising
>> enough money to implement such a strategy against multiple
>> companies, a few are bound to hit for the big bucks, given
>> the statistics of invalidity of most software patents.
>What is he referring to here regarding statistics? Is it the case that
>most patent suits against software patents go against the patent holder?
>Or a substantial percentage? I had always heard that defeating patents
>was a costly and highly uncertain process, since the presumption is on
>the validity of the patent once it issues.

 I've heard a claim (I can't remember where) that some experts can find
prior art for about 95% of the software patents they are hired to
investigate. I haven't heard any claims that this can be done cheaply.

>In my field, cryptography, there are a lot of patents. But I wouldn't
>say that many of them could be overturned on the basis of prior art.

 My impression is that cryptography patents are not at all representative
of typical software patents.

>People are creative, and there is no shortage of new ideas coming out all
>the time. There is no reason a priori to expect most software patents
>to be invalid. Someone creative enough to get a paper published in a
>refereed journal is capable of coming up with a patentable idea. There
>are hundreds of thousands of people like this.

 There is widespread confusion over what the PTO will consider patentable,
and very little incentive for anyone to search for prior art until lawsuits
are filed, so it seems quite possible that the typical software patent
is filed by the tenth or twentieth person to "invent" the idea.

Peter McCluskey          | Boycott until they stop suing | companies that support 1-click shopping.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:38 MDT