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Kügler: Best practises for writing defensive publications

On his blog, Sebastian Kügler gathers some tips on writing defensive publications. These publications are a weapon that can be used to ensure that techniques used by free software don't get patented by others. "A defensive publication is a technical document that describes ideas, methods or inventions and is a form of explicit prior art. Defensive publications are published by Open Invention Network in a database that is searched by patent offices during a patent exam. A good defensive publication will prevent software patents from being granted on ideas that are not new and inventive.These will help protect your freedom to operate. "
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Kügler: Best practises for writing defensive publications

Posted Aug 26, 2012 7:31 UTC (Sun) by Camarade_Tux (guest, #51944) [Link]

And such writings can be nicely (re)used for documentation. :-)

(yes, it's also a hint at what I often find lacking in documentations)

Kügler: Best practises for writing defensive publications

Posted Aug 27, 2012 14:29 UTC (Mon) by hingo (guest, #14792) [Link]

I never understood why the publication of source code doesn't work as better prior art than a publication. If you want me to do the PTO examiner's work for them, I'd like to rather get paid for it, thank you.

Kügler: Best practises for writing defensive publications

Posted Aug 27, 2012 16:06 UTC (Mon) by JoeBuck (guest, #2330) [Link]

The patent examiner only gets about a day and a half to do his/her entire review. They can do keyword searches for journal articles and that's about it. They don't have the time to search every bit of published free software on the planet. This effort, if I understand correctly, it to try to get the prior art in a form that the patent examiners will actually see it.

Kügler: Best practises for writing defensive publications

Posted Aug 28, 2012 7:42 UTC (Tue) by armijn (subscriber, #3653) [Link]

Exactly. This is just about bringing it in front of the patent examiners. Nothing more, nothing less.

Kügler: Best practises for writing defensive publications

Posted Aug 28, 2012 8:01 UTC (Tue) by armijn (subscriber, #3653) [Link]

Because the patent examiners don't search source code. They only have a ridiculously short term to research a patent claim (about 8 to 10 hours over a period that could be two *years*), so they tend to search a limited set of prior art and existing patent applications.

Patent examiners are not lazy: they are just extremely overloaded with work, so they simply can't decipher all code out there, and stick to the things they know are good prior art.

What we (disclaimer: I work for Open Invention Network) try to do is to make a good source of explicitely documented prior art of open source software. We submit the defensive publications we receive to a database on IP.com, to which many patent offices are subscribers.

This is not about doing a patent examiner's job and your suggestion about getting paid for it doesn't make any sense to me at all. It is about protecting your own freedom to operate and help patent applications for which prior art exists to be rejected, or decreased in scope.


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