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Re: A Patent on Continuations?

> Peter J. Wasilko, Esq. wrote:
> > Given the Patent and Trademark Office's tendency to miss prior art
> > in the CS disciplines and to issue overly broad patents, this list
> > should be *very* concerned if there really is a patent on
> > continuations in the pipeline.
> So what do we do?  Surely there is no difficulty demonstrating that
> the prior art does exist (going back to Landin's paper for
> continuations itself, or to the recent spate of publications on
> continuations for Web programming) by pointing to any number of actual
> published conference papers.  Do you think an organization such as the
> ACM or IEEE, which holds copyright on some of those papers, should get
> involved?
> Shriram


    The ACM and IEEE could probably approach the PTO to make sure that
all examiners are searching their respective digital libraries for prior

    But you have to bear in mind that PTO dogma is that their clients
are patent applicants and not the public at large. 

    There is also a matter of pride that makes the PTO uncomfortable
with outsiders questioning its judgement.

    Moreover, the PTO actually runs a healthy budget surplus from filing
fees and doesn't see it as being in its own financial interest to
discourage bad patent *applications*.

    Fortunately, the current PTO leadership seems a little bit more
sensitive to patent quality than was the case a few years ago, so there
may be some hope.

    Still, I would suggest that ACM and IEEE policy leaders seek out
their opposite numbers in the American Bar Association and in the
various State Bar Associations with the goal of developing some joint
recommendations for reform.

    Bar Association leaders have the ears of the right policy makers in
the government and the courts, putting them in a better position to
exert leverage over a system run amok.

--- Peter