If HTML Were Invented Today, Someone Would Try To Patent It

from the patently-pointless dept

Another day, another silly patent application. John points us to a blog post about a a bizarre patent application to patent what the <script> tag is often used for. The patent application in question is for a method of <script> based remote JavaScript function call of web page. The blog post is by Brent Ashley who notes not only is the patent quite obvious, on a technique that the tag was designed to do and is used by many people, the actual code used in the patent application just so happens to have been copied directly from his own published code. So, not only are they trying to patent a patently obvious idea, they're using someone else's code to do so. Has anyone tried patenting HTML yet?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Morgan Henry, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 6:32pm

    patent

    I would like to submit a patent for first post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    XCetron, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 7:35pm

    I want to claim patenting for any programming languages that uses the word "Print" "Cout" "Display" as a command for outputting basic texts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 7:36pm

    XCetron - Ive already patented "select" and "echo"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    slackzen, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 7:53pm

    I got dibs on the qwerty keyboard layout

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 7:56pm

    i own "method of input by use of digits" FTW

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Tony, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 8:03pm

    I want Alt-Ctrl-Del..... Ooops! Bye!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Panaqqa, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 8:29pm

    Not so fast there people...

    You all owe me a ton of money. I own a patent on "0" and "1" - "A method for representing information using a non decimal radix." PAY UP!!!

     

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  8.  
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    Jerslan, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 9:03pm

    Can you patent a language? I'd think that would need to be covered by copyright. Now the parser/interpreter/compiler for said language could be patented (and this has been done many times over by various people and companies). You can also patent specific processes using said code so long as they are non-obvious. But the language itself? I think not.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Gabe, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 11:46pm

    I own the patent on the

    patent, I own the patent on the patent by virutre of my great uncle's fartehest away great grandfather from before the world was color, and he invented the patent, so patent on patent.

     

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  10.  
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    Paul, Nov 3rd, 2006 @ 11:59pm

    Blink

    I patented the "blink" tag and that's why it has been depreciated and no longer used.

     

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  11.  
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    A chicken passeth by, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 12:25am

    I have a patent for the alphabet.
    You all owe me. >_>

    I'm currently applying one for life, the universe and everything. Except for the number 42, because Doug Adams owns it.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    RantMax, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 3:29am

    You can't control every shmuck...

    ... who tries to patent hot water. The problem is if the patent gets granted.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    In 1963 I patented a progam called 'Hello World'

     

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  14.  
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    buttersmith, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 7:41am

    my patent

    Just mailed in application to patent 3 mouse clicks in a second
    3 mouse clicks in more than a second and less than 2 seconds
    3 mouse clicks in more than 2 seconds and less than 3 seconds...

     

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  15.  
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    brent ashley, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 8:39am

    Re: You can't control every shmuck...

    The point here is that this patent *has* been granted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    I have a patent on the highlight function. So all of you copiers and pasters who use my highlight, pay up. Actually, I patented the copy and paste function too. Someone else already got the "Cut" portion of it, but I came away with "Paste"!

     

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  17.  
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    PJ, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 10:04am

    I have a patent on the patenting process. Everyone who has a patent, pay up.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 10:28am

    I claim a patent on patent litigation. Everyone who collects on a patent... pay up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Tyler, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 11:27am

    I patented God and all of his creations billions of years ago, let's see, with interest.... you each owe me 42^50000000 dollars!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 12:24pm

    Re:

    Can you patent a language?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    James Scott Somers, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re:

    I like this comment, call me a n00b but is it specifially possible to patent catch words, phrases or combinations of linguistic words? This would then be analogous to patenting code snippits.

     

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  22.  
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    WinCtrlAltDel, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:42pm

    Patents

    i patented the |337 word w00t! everyone who has used it and ais using it, pay up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    WinCtrlAltDel, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:43pm

    We Owned the Other Team

    w00t - We Oned the Other Team

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    WinCtrlAltDel, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:44pm

    We Owned the Other Team

    w00t - We Owned the Other Team

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Mykle, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:47pm

    You're Fired

    Has the script been patented? Well, just like , you're giving money to PJ!
    Didn't "The Donald (Trump)" patent "You're Fired"?

    P.S. I just patented post 22, while connected wirelessly on the toilet! (I patent any forms of misinterpretations to my patent)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Mykle, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    You're Fired

    Has the script been patented? Well, just like , you're giving money to PJ!
    Didn't "The Donald (Trump)" patent "You're Fired"?

    P.S. I just patented post 22, while connected wirelessly on the toilet! (I patent any forms of misinterpretations to my patent)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Mykle, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    You're Fired

    Has the script been patented? Well, just like , you're giving money to PJ!
    Didn't "The Donald (Trump)" patent "You're Fired"?

    P.S. I just patented post 22, while connected wirelessly on the toilet! (I patent any forms of misinterpretations to my patent)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    BlackCow, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 2:56pm

    That is like trying to patent the English language, you just can't do it.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Gary Gex, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Catch words, phrases, or combinations of linguistic words" cannot be patented. They do not fall into the Patent Act's requirements for statutory subject matter since they are not useful; the law says they lack "utility." The reason that the use of tags was considered to have utility in the patent at issue here is that the tags were used to accomplish a task in a program. (BTW, you cannot copyright slogans or small phrases, so you would not be able to copyright catch words, phrases, or combinations of linguistic words either.)

     

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  30.  
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    Gary Gex, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 3:15pm

    Timing and obviousness of the patent at issue

    Without commenting on the actual validity of the patent, two observations: First, the issued patent claimed priority to a provisional “placeholder” application filed on Dec. 1, 2000 – this means that the patent examiner at the PTO evaluated the merits of the patent application based on what was available before that date. If the examiner did not find evidence that anyone was “doing” what the patent applicants claimed as of Nov. 30, 2000 or earlier, he or she would have come to the conclusion that it was novel. This seems to be shored up since Brent said, “Numerous people have ‘discovered’ and exploited the value in using the script tag to get code and data on the fly since that time.” Second, Brent wrote, “It’s an obvious logical use of the functionality for which it was designed.” Apparently, this is where the obviousness assault should have been levied by the examiner. It could be that this is where any successful invalidity challenge in court would occur. Brent correctly notes that the patentee “has the upper hand;” an issued patent is presumed valid and can be found invalid in the face of clear and convincing evidence that it was not novel or it was obvious. This is a tough standard to meet, but note that more than one patent litigation has terminated very early if there is clear evidence of prior art which renders a patent invalid. So, it could well be that this particular patent will not survive if challenged.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Gary Gex, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 3:25pm

    Patenting a language

    I hate to say it, but yes and no. As one poster correctly stated, one cannot patent English since it is a natural language. As to artificial languages, e.g. a new programming or scripting language, the actual language specification _by itself_ would be quite unlikely to merit protection. Thus, you will likely fail to get a patent if you merely submit BNF for a language, along with some additional description and a few claims. However, one probably can claim _uses_ of novel features of an artificial language if they have so-called utility.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 5:35pm

    Sounds like he's trying to patent the same technology that AJAX uses and will try to collect on anyone using AJAX to call a server side function.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    ss, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 8:40pm

    I have the patent on technology that AJAX uses

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Phlatus the Elder, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 10:16pm

    I was always told that a thing could not be pattented if it had been in common use for more than a year and a day. Any attorneys able to comment?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Gary Gex, Nov 4th, 2006 @ 11:30pm

    Re: "year and a day" statutory bar

    Phlatus asks if "thing could not be patented if it had been in common use for more than a year and a day." In fact, according to the Patent Act statute 35 USC 102(a), if the invention was known or used by others in this country anytime before the idea was conceived of by the patent applicant, no patent should issue.

    The year long "grace period" is what Phlatus is thinking of. This refers to the statutory bar 35 USC 102(b) which says you cannot get a patent if "the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States."

    There are many other aspects to 35 USC 102, but that covers the question generally.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 4:55am

    Gary Gex:BTW, you cannot copyright slogans or small phrases, so you would not be able to copyright catch words, phrases, or combinations of linguistic words either. Can't you trademark them tho? Like Pat Riley did with the phrase Threepeat?

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    No one you'll listen to, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 4:57am

    no small phrases?

    Gary Gex:BTW, you cannot copyright slogans or small phrases, so you would not be able to copyright catch words, phrases, or combinations of linguistic words either. Can't you trademark them tho? Like Pat Riley did with the phrase Threepeat? BTW: I patented the trademark. oh, and cut and paste. yeah, that's it.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    No one you'll listen to, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 4:58am

    oops...

    i also patent duplicate posts!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Jelkster, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 5:11am

    I own a patent for patents.

    PWNED.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Gary Gex, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    TM for no small phrases?

    The question posed by Anonymous and “No One” is : “Can't you trademark [short phrases] tho? Like Pat Riley did with the phrase Threepeat?” Yes, one can associate a phrase as a common law trademark designation with goods or services for sale without any governmental agency approval (TM vs. SM, respectively, plus some other categories not worth going into, like the Goodhouse Keeping seal of approval which falls into a different type of mark) . One can also seek federal trademark registration from the Patent and Trademark Office, which permits legitimate use of the ® symbol if the PTO grants you the mark. But the thing to remember is that a trademark is merely a device to permit vendors the ability to distinguish their goods or services from those of other vendors. Think branding. A strong trademark affords the right to keep others from passing off goods with your mark, but it is not the same type of protection afforded by patents; patents give the right to exclude others from practicing the invention, and is a stronger protection than copyright or trademark. That is one of the policy reasons why patents have a much shorter duration than copyright. On the other hand, trademarks can have potentially infinite duration, but if you don’t use it to sell your goods/services, you lose it.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    brwyatt, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 10:53am

    I patent breathing and oxygen. Pay up or learn to hold your breath!

    I can't believe all the retardedness in this country from greedy little pigs trying to get rich by STEALING ideas and taking their use away from the people of this country. I remember back when stupid patents were just bad ideas. (like the toilet snorkel or the Fish Bath (From http://www.totallyabsurd.com/))

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 11:05am

    I own a patent on meta patenting: the patenting of the patenting. all you commenters who thought you were being witty, pay up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    iontec, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 12:51pm

    i hold the patent on the enter key. so pay up biiiiatches

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    brent ashley, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 1:09pm

    obviousness

    I think the obviousness argument in this case comes down to this:

    If the patent process is working properly, the general public's first understanding of this technique should come from reading the patent itself, since it is the expression of a unique unobvious patentable idea.

    The fact that this particular technique is in wide use and has been for 5 years means that either:

    a) everyone's knowledge of the technique has come from the revelations contained in the patent

    or

    b) it was obvious enough than many other people arrived at the same technique without having been exposed to the patent.

    If b), then the patent should be found to be invalid by reason of non-obviousness.

    As a person who has taken great interest in this field since 1998, I contend that b) is how it played out.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Nicholas C. Zakas, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 2:26pm

    Did the patent examiner read the spec?

    Here's what the spec says:

    The SCRIPT element places a script within a document. This element may appear any number of times in the HEAD or BODY of an HTML document.

    The script may be defined within the contents of the SCRIPT element or in an external file...If the src has a URI value, user agents must ignore the element's contents and retrieve the script via the URI.

    So basically, this guy (or group) has now got a patent using a technology in the way that it was intended to be used: to load data from the server. This is a shameful oversight by the USPTO and opens the door for a rash of patent applications for using specific parts of a language for their intended usage. I, at this moment, am filing a patent application for using XMLHttpRequest to retrieve data from the server.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    The Swiss Cheese Monster, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 2:48pm

    Re: You can't control every shmuck...

    I patented hot water.

    Cold showers for you bud.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    gab el, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 2:51pm

    BT longly tried to claim patents on HTML

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Peter Bromberg, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 6:11pm

    Didn't Al Gore already get this patent?

    see the link for details and more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2006 @ 11:35pm

    Re:

    I thought that a patent lasted only for 20 years. So it would be expired by now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    AC, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 4:46am

    Stupidity

    The stupidity generated by this thread astounds me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    me, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 8:35am

    Re: You can't control every shmuck...

    I own the patent on starting a sentence in the subject line, and finishing it in the comment line. And have declared it nooby and banned from use. Cease and desist, noob.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Fragologist, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    I own the patent on patenting patents.

    too late now fool

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    awipe, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 9:01am

    Re: Stupidity

    I totally agree with you, oh master of what is intelligent and knows everything. You truly are a genius and should spread you knowledge to those among us who do not take thing seriously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Celes, Nov 6th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    Odd... one usually tries to patent the answers to the questions and not the other way around, yes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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