[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[FYI] (Fwd) PATNEWS: Horrible ecommerce patent claim

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Wed, 13 Sep 2000 15:36:54 -0500
Send reply to:  	patent-l@ftplaw.wuacc.edu
From:           	Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com>
To:             	Multiple recipients of list <patent-l@ftplaw.wuacc.edu>
Subject:        	PATNEWS: Horrible ecommerce patent claim

!20000913  Horrible ecommerce patent claim

    One of my readers, hearing I was a bit blue, decided to cheer me
    up by
sending me the following ecommerce patent claim from a patent that,
filed at the end of 1997, manages to cite absolutely no non-patent
prior art with a claim that describes nothing more than having a
couple of employees using a database with verification checks to
process customer orders. What a conceptual breakthrough - no wonder
absolutely nothing in all of the business school libraries was
relevant as prior art.  Apparently there are no universities within a
half hour drive of Los Altos Hills (home of the inventor) - it be one
of those mountain villages in California where you have to ride on a
mule up a steep and windy trail to reach the village.

    For those of you speaking on business method patents this fall,
asking me about dumb examples, here's one.  Coincidentally, and maybe
in honor of the PTO's brilliance in awarding this patent, an EPO board
has just voted 10-9 to allow software patents in Europe.


    Integrated business-to-business Web commerce and business
    Issued/Filed Dates: Sept. 5, 2000 / Dec. 22, 1997
        (85 claims - 395 drawings)

    1. An automated end-to-end business process for product sales  
    that uses a relational database management system, the process
    comprising the steps of:

    a first user inputting a sales record to the database for an order
    of a customer;
        [GREG NOTE: totally trivially dumb]

    automatically generating a customer invoice;
        [GREG NOTE: totally trivially dumb]

    a second user inputting a customer payment record to the database,
    wherein system privileges of the first user and the second user
    are at least partially mutually exclusive;
        [GREG NOTE: mostly trivially dumb - multilevel database

    automatically determining a status of the customer payment as
    reconciled or not reconciled; and
        [GREG NOTE: totally trivially dumb]

    during each of the foregoing inputting steps, qualifying user
    inputs using experiential constraints, based on the then-current
    state of the database as a whole.
        [GREG NOTE: trivially dumb - range check on input fields]

    A software system business-to-business Web commerce (Web business,
e-business) and automates to the greatest degree possible, in a
unified and synergistic fashion and using best proven business
practices, the various aspects of running a successful and profitable
business. Web business and business automation are both greatly
facilitated using a computing model based on a single integrated
database management system (DBMS) that is either Web-enabled or
provided with a Web front-end. The Web provides a window into a
"seamless" end-to-end internal business process. The effect of such
integration on the business cycle is profound, allowing the sale of
virtually anything in a transactional context (goods, services,
insurance, subscriptions, etc.) to be drastically streamlined.



An administrative board for the European Patents Office has voted 10-9
to allow patents for software in Europe, with a final decision coming
in November at a conference of the all the countries represented by
the Office.  Software patents are available in the U.S. and Japan, and
multinational companies have been arguing for unlimited patenting as
part of a uniform global legal framework. Critics, however, fear that
large companies will use the patenting process as a tool to squelch
innovative technologies that threaten their standard products. Among
the dissenting countries were Germany, the U.K. and France. The head
of the German delegation expressed his reservations over the change:
"We would have problems with the U.S. tendency to patent everything
that can be patented. That would stifle innovation and cause a glut of
litigation." (Wall Street Journal 13 Sep 2000)

[note: from a commentator on a patent discussion group - ]
    BTW, I am told that among the voters in favor of software
    patenting are major industrial countries such as Lichtenstein and
    Monaco, who did make the difference ... one wonders about the
    motivations ...

    I do not know the exact list of voters, but it appears clearly
    that more work is needed in some countries to inform the political
    powers concerning these issues.  But note that the votes of the 3
    countries above, unhoped for not so long ago, show that we can
    lobby effectively on these issues.


Greg Aharonian
Internet Patent News Service
Private reply:         Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com>
Public replies:        patent-l@ftplaw.wuacc.edu
Technical questions:   Paul Arrigo, zzarri@washburn.edu
List owners:           James Wadley, zzwadl@washburn.edu
         John Christensen, zzchri@washburn.edu
To sign off, send message to: listserv@ftplaw.wuacc.edu
         Message merely says: unsubscribe patent-l
An Experimental and Free Service of WashLawWEB:
Terms and Conditions:
------- End of forwarded message -------