Fun_People Archive
24 Mar
Ding-dong, the wicked patent is dead.

Date: Thu, 24 Mar 94 17:11:58 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: Ding-dong, the wicked patent is dead.

Forwarded-by: bostic@vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: (Tom Ngo)
Forwarded-by: Brian E. Bradley <>

Ding-dong, the wicked patent is dead.  Though I bet Compton's made more
money on the PR generate than any royalties that could have been
collected.  Surprisingly, there are more serious software patent
infringement cases with worse claims than the Compton patent, though
not getting as much attention.

Greg Aharonian
Internet Patent News Service

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(c) 1994 Mark Voorhees

Controversial CD-ROM filing falls during re-exam

March 24, 1994--The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the
controversial Compton's NewMedia patent during a re-examination.

   The patent covers basic techniques for searching and
retrieving information from CD-ROM data bases. It has generated
wide criticism in the computer and technology fields as a symbol
of the problems with software patents. Some critics say the
techniques were not new at the time of the patent filing. A
minority of critics say patents should not cover software.

   Most or all of the 41 claims were rejected on the basis that
they were not novel or were obvious. The rejection was delivered
to Encyclopaedia Britannica, one of the patent owners, last

   Encyclopaedia Britannica and Tribune Co., the other patent
owner, will have at least once chance to persuade the office that
its rejection is wrong. Afterward, the owners can appeal either
to federal court or to an appellate tribunal within the patent

   Examiner Archie Williams cited a popular computer book, The
HyperCard Handbook, and several patents as evidence that
Compton's NewMedia was not the first inventor of the CD-ROM

   Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman took the rare step of
ordering the re-exam after industry protest over how
the patent would upset the advance of multimedia and interactive

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[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []