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AltaVista to sue over search patents



7:18 pm on Jan 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Richard Latham, chief executive at web consultancy BlueWave, said: "The effect is to create a paranoid environment where the web is under threat of being suffocated by proprietisation through patenting."

http://www.vnunet.com/News/1116681 [vnunet.com]


1:06 pm on Jan 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It's alta's fault for not persuing it when they could have. Almost seems like there ought to be a shorter time limitation on patent challenges. Course, people would just hide the product for a bit longer until the time frame ran out.


6:08 pm on Jan 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em!


9:16 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I think, if they could have done it, they would have done it at lawsuit happy digital several years ago. I'd imagine a major patent lawsuit would run 8 figures today.


9:49 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Sounds like desperation to me.


10:52 pm on Jan 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Brett, it seems that Digital actually filed the patent applications back then, but the patents themselves were awarded only recently.

From [internetworld.com...]

"...And Digital did a good job of recognizing the potential value of that intellectual
property. And they were very thorough in filing broad and deep and
narrow patents. And we have another 30 patents that are in application.
So we believe that virtually everyone out there who indexes the Web is
in violation of at least several of those key patents.


7:14 am on Jan 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

This is a great example of what happens when you bombard a handful of patent inspectors with hundreds of thousands of thechnical patents that they aren't even qualified to review. CMGI is hoping this will be the Goose that lays their golden egg, but it appears there is already a movement growing to try and fight the new patents.

Does anyone rember Archie???

[businesswire.com ]


11:12 am on Jan 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

good article thanks.. key is when does an "idea" become commercial property...

personally I preferred Veronica (:- Those were the days! Think that veronica and archie were my first experience ever at internet search and thats when i knew the internet could really become a great research and sharing tool..


3:19 pm on Jan 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> Napoleon 9:49 pm on Jan. 29, 2001 (gmt)
>> Sounds like desperation to me.

This is what you get from an individual whose shares were once at 163 and are now just above 6.

If dave is allowed to get away with this then all of his code will have to be made public so as not to infringe.

Does anybody remember the IBM/Compaq OS issues. Compaq took all the commands such as DIR and rewrote the code so as not to resemble the IBM code and Compaq won.

There is more than one way to skin the cat, but the unfortunate part of all this will be the killing of smaller companies as they have to sink all finances (if they have them) into litigation. Something the lawyers will love as they will be the only ones making the money...

Looks like dave is trying to close off entry to the frontier.

my 2 pennies



10:37 am on Jan 31, 2001 (gmt 0)

Strange that the patents went through in the first place. The biggest issue here is originality. Altavista has no claim to having first thought of the idea, as others have said above.

At least BT's patent predates anyone else. BT's patent, I would say, fails that other test - whether the invention is obvious or not. This is often difficult to judge at the patent application time, particularly in a highly innovative field; it is harder still to judge with hindsight, when everything seems obvious - eg gravity, justification of the second world war &c. &c..


6:28 pm on Jan 31, 2001 (gmt 0)

Regarding your point, Mach,

I have heard (through the grapevine) that the patent office is so swamped with patent requests, that they more or less hand them out like candy. It is up to the company requesting the patent to defend it.



6:32 pm on Jan 31, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Anyone remember Archie?

Apparently somoene does...


Wetherell added that "if you index a distributed set of databases -- that's what the Internet is. And even within intranets, that's one of the patents."

But one Internet pioneer says there's plenty of "prior art" existing that would invalidate the patent if it were challenged.

Alan Emtage created the Archie search engine in 1990 to scour file transfer protocol sites and create a searchable index to make it easier for Internet users to find the files they wanted. Archie first debuted in 1991, back in the days when text and numeric menu interfaces for the Internet were the norm.



6:56 pm on Jan 31, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The patent office has been handing out technology patents like candy. The sad thing is that most of them aren't trully valid do to "prior art."

Both AV's and BT's patents certainly don't meet the standard of no prior art. These patents were issued because the Patent Office doesn't have the staff or the expertise to completely research and evaluate the flood of new patents.

The sad thing is, I don't think anyone will actually challenge them. BT was issued their hyperlink patent in 1989. They have allowed the free use of their patent for 12 years. That in its self makes their claim invalid.

There has also been plenty of data uncovered, (including some film) that shows the idea of the hyperlink has been around since 1968.

However, due to the costs involved with litigation, companies like earthlink, AOL, etc. will probably just cave and pay. This will guarantee that anyone in the next 8 years who grows a web based company to a substantial size will receive an extortian letter from BT.

Here is another good article on the whole mess.

[digitalmass.boston.com ]


10:08 pm on Feb 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

One more story...this has a bit about how one goes through the patent process.




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