View Full Version : Prior art repository and watchdog group

10-16-2007, 07:09 AM
Just to bring some of the discussion over here from the guild and mcarterbrown.

It seems to have hit the boiling point with Smart Parts where people are no longer content to sit down and complain about prior art and their exploiting a broken system, and some people have started doing things about it. At least 2 people are in touch with patent examiners, one specifically the predominant name appearing on paintball patents as the examiner: John Ricci.

Steve (rabid) mentioned on MCB that he wants to form a watchdog and repository group to help alleviate patent issues for the sport.

Now there may be some really good reasons against this (conflicting interests, mutually exclusive goals, biting off more than we can chew, etc...), but it seems to me that what we have been tossing around as concepts for the open source group could be greatly benefited to be a division or offshoot of the new group that is proposed. It would allow us to follow what was one of my original hopes for the group in that it amasses designs with proven open availability for use, and would allow us to create future IP that we want to be openly available for use. Coupled with the reality of the situation that Steve mentioned (funding), we can selectively decide which of the future IP we bring in is to be free for use or license based (of course also depending on the desires of the person/people providing the IP). The money brought in from licensing can help fund both future IP acquisition, defense of already held IP, and help to support disputes brought up by the watchdog group. Overbroad and unjustly awarded patents that the watchdog group helps overturn opens up new doors for the open source group, as corners we were previously painted out of may now be open for play.

Now I don't know the laws regarding the watchdog group, and I'm half expecting rabid to jump in and say that this is a conflict of interest to have the groups legally joined at the hip, but I wanted to bring it up as a possibility.

That aside, short of money for the cause, any ideas for those of us that want to help and can't dump money into it right now? Friends with lawyers has been mentioned, as has helping to amass prior art examples.