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Fri Oct 31 09:21:50 PST 2003
Most people forgot that a patent can terminate if it is challenged in court
and loses.  Patents can be granted that fail to meet the "no prior 
art" standard. This is especially true when the field is new (like computer
software).  The patent office does not know all the prior art in
all technologies.  If someone knows of prior art and has a good reason 
they can sue and destroy one or more claims in the patent.

Prior art means that a person who understood the previous techniques
could have derived the device/technique/process from them.

For example: don't try patenting a web site that uses quick sort to
sort out people's tie collections.  Quick-sort is prior art.  Web sites
are prior art.  Any body can put the two together....

Disclaimer: check with an expert!
Most people forgot that a patent can terminate if it is challenged in court
and loses.  Patents can be granted that fail to meet the "no prior 
art" standard. This is especially true when the field is new (like computer
software).  THe pate4nt office does not know all the prior art in
all technoplogies.  If someone knows of prior art and has a good reason 
they can sue and destroy one or more claims in the patent.

Prior art means that a person who understood the previous techniques
could have derived the device/technique/process from them.

For example: don't try patenting a web site that uses quick sort to
sort out people's tie collections.  Quicksort is prior art.  Web sites
are prior art.  Any body can put the two together....

Disclaimer: check with an expert!