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Re: .NET CLR? was no subject
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 14:14:35 -0800
From: "Peter H. Froehlich" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I might be too naive here, but from what I know about .NET there is
hardly anything that is not covered by prior art, either from the
TAL people or various other groups that have worked on "wide"
intermediate representations before (to a certain degree, that even
includes us at UCI).
IANAL but from what I have picked up over the years, the concept of
"prior art" in patent law is very different, and much narrower, than
the concept of what constitutes "original work" from an academic
That is, you might see something in .NET and say, well, there's really
no new brilliant insight needed to get from the published literature
to what .NET is doing, and the idea in .NET would not count as
"original, novel work" if you were, say, refereeing it for a journal.
However, for a patent to be considered "novel" or "non-obvious" with
respect to the "prior art" does not require a brilliant insight. The
threshold for what constitutes "novel" in the patent law world is
much, much less than in the academic literature world. Patents are
often for what most of us would consider minor variations and very
incremental improvements to what went before.
If you try to prove in court that the subject of a patent is "obvious
to one skilled in the art", my impression is that the bar is set
rather high, i.e. it's relatively hard to prove. (And in all
fairness, many new ideas seem "obvious" once you've had them explained
Patents also use techniques such as "dependent claims" so that even if
the broadest interpretation of the patent is struck down, narrower
interpretations may remain standing.
(Note: I'm not saying anything one way or the other about whether
there, in fact, *are* brilliant new ideas in .NET or not. I don't
know enough about .NET to say. I'm just using .NET as an example.)