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Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 17:11:15 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 AES/newspost <> wrote:

> In article <Xns94E6741B54989elektrosmdonet@>,
>  Alun <> wrote:
> > I don't see how a plain language requirement would work. Patents are 
> > written from scratch, and those of us who write them use certain terms and 
> > certain ways of writing things for legal precision, not to confuse others, 
> > beleive it or not.
> "Legal precision"?!?  Gee, I've sat in rooms and listened to multiple 
> attorneys argue vehemently over the meaning of patent language, in 
> situations where they were all on the *same* side, and defending the 
> patent.
> Besides, shouldn't it be "technical precision" that's wanted, or needed?

I agree.

Often during these discussions we argue over how broadly or narrowly 
some terms used in patents should be interpreted.  For instance, in the 
recent thread about Microsoft's patent switching users on a desktop OS, 
we debated what a "desktop" is.

To avoid conflicts with prior art, Microsoft would probably want it to 
be interpreted pretty narrowly, to what we currently view as a typical 
GUI operating system.  Otherwise, things like Unix's "su" command would 
be prior art.

On the other hand, when they go after infringers, it seems like patent 
holders try to interpret the terms in their claims fairly broadly.

We had a similar discussion in the thread about the Microsoft's patent 
on using click timing to launch applications in different ways.  Would 
the actions that occur when you click on a link in a web browser, or the 
buttons in an application, be considered "launching an application"?  
Not in the normal computer vernacular, but a lawyer might claim that 
these are equivalent processes.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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