WEB: OpenMarket patents

James Rogers (jarogers@cisco.com)
Tue, 03 Mar 1998 15:51:35 -0800


It was announced today that the company OpenMarket was granted patents for
some basic web related devices. More information can be found at

The patents include (among other things) a patent for using unique session
identifiers on websites and a patent for the ubiquitous electronic shopping
cart, filed in Jun95 and Oct94 respectively.

Now, I am not a big fan of software patents in general, but what I find
particularly distasteful about these is that I was personally involved in
the development and public use of these two particular patents at least
several months prior to the filing on both accounts and I know of even
earlier usage by other people. I read the documentation available on these
patents and they describe, in detail, what we had been doing on
public/commercial sites prior to the filing date.

My question is: Does the prior, public usage by myself and other persons
prior to the filing of these particular patents in anyway invalidate said
patents? Besides the fact that it is obscene to patent something so obvious
and low on the ingenuity scale, I find myself severely irritated by their
successful patent attempt of something that was already in the public domain
for all intents and purposes. Any programmer worth a damn would have
devised such things on their own and, not surprisingly, many did.

Okay. That's enough for now.

-James Rogers