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[FYI] Search engine veteran poo-poos AltaVista patent claims


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Search engine veteran poo-poos AltaVista patent claims  

By: Kieren McCarthy  

Posted: 30/01/2001 at 18:01 GMT  

AltaVista's claim that it owns patents to virtually all search engine 
technology has been mocked by a search engine veteran, Alan Emtage.  

The CEO of AltaVista's parent company CMGI, David Wetherall, said in 
an Internet World interview earlier this month that not only did 
AltaVista have a large number of patents on search engines but that 
the company would start to pursue people that infringed them (i.e. 

This was too much for Alan Emtage, who created one of the earliest 
search engines, Archie. In a Business Wire press release, Alan 
explained that his engine - released first in 1989 - used FTP to 
crawl public sites and index them for Internet users. At its peak, 
there were apparently over 30 Archie indexers, searching millions of 

Emtage said: "Though I'm not a lawyer, the patents being 'defended' 
by CMGI/AltaVista include basic concepts that were incorporated into 
the Archie system years before the World Wide Web even existed. 
Archie was crawling and indexed FTP sites with fairly sophisticated 
algorithms even as I was sitting at Internet Engineering Task Force 
(IETF) meetings with Tim Berners-Lee while he created the World Wide 


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