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RE: The patent process

From: PrussianSnow
Subject: RE: The patent process
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 19:39:18 +0100

>> If a technical person is going to make any use of patents, shouldn't
>> they be able to understand them?  If the understandable part is the
>> abstract, but it doesn't really say the same thing as the claims, they
>> could be led down the garden path, thinking that they're not
>> infringing.
>I think that tends to happen here in Usenet. The only real answer is to
>learn how to read claims.

Sure, patent claims don't make light reading but then again neither does the
documentation for a C compiler, the W3C XML specification, an ANSI or ISO
standard, an RFC, or any application requirement specification. However, I
would expect a skilled programmer to be able to at least muddle his or her
way through any one of these documents and decide if it was relevant to the
task at hand.

Perhaps, we should consider reading patents as a skill that is becoming
important for programmers and other technical people in the IT sector? Not
to mention the skill required to log on to the USPTO site and use the search
engine to do a quick, cursory search for applicable documents.

PS I am currently an engineering student. In my program of study
independently ensuring that one's work does not infringe on anyone else
falls in the realm of "expected professional conduct" and is expected on a
daily basis.

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