Subject: Re: IBM patents macro expansion.
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 18:48:12 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman <>
| I haven't looked at this yet, but based only on the quote above,
| Harlequin's WebMaker (I don't think Xanalys still sells it, but it
| does own it) would be a potential example of prior art (and written in
| Lisp, no less).  And doubtless there are other such examples.

  It appears from discussions I have had with intellectual property lawyers
  that the practical definition of "prior art" has been shifting towards
  "prior patent claims", partly to _encourage_ the use of the patent system
  for inventions in computer science, again partly because the cost of
  proving prior art after the fact is so much higher for all parties
  involved than applying for a patent.  Even if a patent is not granted,
  making the invention available to the patent office (i.e., the public)
  makes it so much easier for their officers to consider it "prior art".

  From the point of view of the patent system, computer science inventions
  are seriously under-patented, and this means that old-hat techniques are
  granted patents _many_ years too late.  The value of this approach eludes
  me, but I believe the _purpose_ really is to cause more people to patent
  their inventions.  Patents can really only be beaten by publishing your
  inventions, and the primary legally recognized mechanism to do that _is_
  the patent.  That it is not technically recognized by computer scientists
  and professionals is a very sad state of disharmony.

  The United Nations before and after the leadership of Kofi Annan are two
  very different organizations.  The "before" United Nations did not deserve
  much credit and certainly not a Nobel peace prize.  The "after" United
  Nations equally certainly does.  I applaud the Nobel committee's choice.