The World Wide
Web is built upon many Internet technologies that were created by
innovative individuals and companies in government, military, academia,
and private sector.
the creator of the World Wide Web could have patented his idea,
but instead, offered it for all to freely use. It is this same kind
of spirit that created much of the technology that we use today.
The spirit of
innovation is currently under attack by patent abuse cases by companies
that are applying an approved patent, and interpreting the patent
to be much broader or applicable to the area of computing and Internet,
to seek licensing of the interpreted patent, usually without any
product to offer.
version of the patents claim ownership to ideas and processes that
existed before the filing date of the patents. Patent Law has provisions
to invalidate a patent by finding prior art (evidence that the idea
existed at least one year before the patent filing date), but it
takes a civil court of law, not the US Patent & Trademark Office
(USPTO) to disprove the patent infringement claims.
that helped form FTPF
There are plenty
of expert witnesses who could come forward, but many are apathetic
and sometimes not willing to come forward and become involved because
the problem doesn't fall in their backyard.
that I have contacted have told me they are "happy" that
the Porn websites are being targeted and they actually applaud the
efforts by Acacia. The media outlets who have covered the stories,
always focus on the Adult Industry. When I tell people that Acacia
has also targeted universities like Eastern Michigan, and schools
like Moraine Park Technical College, they become silent, in realizing
that these patent abuse cases aren't just about porn.
not be able to find the right prior art evidence due to not having
first hand knowledge of computing and Internet history. My experiences
span 17 years of active computing development, from mainframes to
PC, from BBS to the Web. Prior Art can be found in different forms
and the trick is to be able to connect those different items to
the infringement claim. Computer "Geeks" and "Tech
Heads" understand the technology, and when presented with patent
infringement claims, they immediately start to point out technology
that they observed that could prove the patent to be invalid. Some
want to help, but they just don't how or are not aware because most
patent abuse cases aren't widely covered in the media.
For those that
didn't watched the movie 'Pay It Forward' starring Kevin Spacey,
Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment, the concept of Pay It Forward,
as presented in the book and in the Warner Brothers movie release
is best summarized by the character Haley (from the website):
If someone did
you a favor - something big, something you couldn't do on your own
- and instead of paying it back, you paid it foward to three people...
and the next day, they each paid it forward to three more . And
the day after that, those 27 people each paid it forward to another
three, and each day, everyone in turn paid it forward to three more
people, that comes to 4,782,969 people.
Fight the Patent
Foundation builds upon the observations of human behavior and combines
them with the 'Pay it Forward' concept to create the founding idea
behind the organization:
Witnesses who come forward to help provide prior art and testimony
in a patent abuse case, would be compensated, not by paying them
a fee or a bounty, but instead, a charitable donation is made in
their name to their favorite charity. Most people are comfortable
in their lives, that money is not the motivator to come forward.
The motivation to participate would be based on their shared belief
that a patent infringement case was unjust, that they could do their
part to invalidate a patent, and in return for that bit of activism,
their efforts are paid forward to help
other people. Their expert testimony and evidence will benefit everyone
from the companies that are defending themselves in litigation,
to websites and companies who will benefit from invalidating a broad
patent claim, to the organization that the donation was made to.
I believe that
it this altruistic approach that FTPF will be able to make a difference.
FTPF will also
use a grassroots approach to finding prior art by enlisting an army
of volunteer searchers. People will submit their prior art finds
to the website and will be rated by the submission. Points will
be awarded for the prior art leads turning into prizes. Being a
non-profit means that companies can donate prizes to the cause.
FTPF would build
a stellar Board of Directors that will inspire prior art experts
to come forward and help. Combined with the altruistic approach
to fighting patent abuse cases and a recognizeable Board of Directors,
Fight The Patent Foundation will be able to fight the fight by financial
contributions from companies who haven't been served with infringement
papers, but have alot to lose if they did.