[internetworkers] AOL granted instant messaging patent
Michael Winslow Czeiszperger
michael at czeiszperger.org
Sat Dec 21 16:17:27 EST 2002
On Saturday, December 21, 2002, at 02:20 PM, Diana Duncan wrote:
> Ummmm...does it matter if they existed before? Isn't it the first
> person to
> apply for the patent the one who gets it? I certainly may be wrong, I
> little of patent law, but I thought you could patent dang near
> anything, as
> long as you were the first to apply for the patent.
I worked in long range R&D for Yamaha Musical Instruments in the late
80s/early 90's, and our job was to churn out patents. Well, at least we
churned out internal Yamaha patent documents which started through the
Yamaha bureaucracy before being filed in the US and Japan. While not
experts on patents, we did have to learn enough to have our work easily
made into patent applications.
One of the requirements is uniqueness of the application of the
technology. For example, although frequency modulation as a technique
is old as used in radio, Stanford was able to get a patent on a device
for musical instruments that used FM to generate music. One reason such
a patent application could be denied would be if someone else had
invented it first, which could be proved either with a published
article, or a product, or even internal notebooks. Each of us had to
keep internal lab notebooks containing all notes and working documents
so there would be a documented history of working on the invention.
People have the impression that large corporations go around stealing
ideas from the small inventor, and after working for at least one large
corporation I saw that was really untrue. The strange thing is that
coming up with useful ideas for new musical instruments which are also
patentable was a lot harder than you would think.
Ending a sentence with a preposition is nothing to be ashamed of.
-- michael at czeiszperger dot org, Chapel Hill, NC
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