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Vonage I knew an Examiner who used to cite science fiction stories as "prior art" to Patent

I knew an Examiner who used to cite science fiction stories as "prior art" to Patent Claims.

The problem is, it ain't art, really.

I can describe a great idea of how something could work in the future, but that is little more than writing SciF, not creating an invention.

In the Patent Business, we have something called "reduction to practice". This CAN be in writing, provided it is in a pending Patent Application. We call that "constructive reduction to practice".

If the fellow who made that newsgroup posting slapped a coversheet on it and filed it as a Provisional Patent Application, well, he might be very wealthy right now - if he could have gotten a Patent on the idea.

The problem is, the claims of the Verizon Patents are undoubtedly narrower than this general overall description of Voip. Thus, the "reference" you cite is not really applicable to a Patent that covers solving some trickly implementation problem.

And those are the best Patents, too. For example, the Wright Brothers did not get a Patent on "an airplane" but rather their lateral control technique known as wing-warping, the grand-daddy of ailerons today. You can't fly an airplane without ailerons (or let's just say you wouldn't want to) so their Patent, although narrow, was still very powerful.

And that was all they could patent, anyway. The idea of the propeller, the wing, the engine, and all the other parts, alone or in combination, were already shown on other Patents or had been tried by others (most notably by the secretary of the Smithsonian, Langley, with his ill-fated steam flyers).

The problem with armchair Patent analysis on the internet is that someone posts a message that Bill Gates has gotten a Patent on the "0" and "1" and people believe it and go beserk with rage. These folks will tell you the sky is falling and everything is coming to an end.

And people believe them, too (and not just about Patents!).

You have to consider the premise, first. Most people sweep by the premise and go onto the conclusion.

If you want to evaluate the Verizon Patents, download them from (after looking up the numbers from the lawsuits in question, which are available online from a variety of sources) and then evaluate the broadest independent CLAIM (you can't infringe the Abstract or the Drawings!). Usually that is claim 1.

After you've done that, download a copy of the file wrapper history from, and after 3 years of law school and maybe 10 years practicing, you can evaluate the file wrapper for "estoppel" issues. What may seem like a broad claim can often be narrowed severely by comments made during prosecution.

Then spend a few thousand dollars and weeks of your life searching the Prior Art. Write up a claim chart comparing the patent to the Prior Art to consider invalidity arguments, under both anticiapation and obviousness, and then write another claim chart to consider infringmenet, both literal, and under the doctrine of equivalents.

Then, go online or on LEXUS/NEXUS and search for relevant case law and apply that to the case. Recent cases, including those from the Supreme Court, have severely narrowed the scope of Patent protection. Then spend a couple of weeks writing up your infringement and validity study, which will be the size of a Manhatten phone directory, and then you might be on to something.

You get the point. The opinions of ill-informed amateurs who have not even read the Patent, understand Patent law, or understand the scope of the art are pretty much irrelevant, and little more than wild speculation. Why waste your time?

If these Patents were invalid, people with more at stake than you or I (i.e., Vonage) would have brought this up at trial.

Some of the brightest patent attorneys in the country could not convince a judge in a court that pretty much specializes in Patent Law that Vonage does not infringe these Patents and/or that they are invalid Patents.

Or manybe Vonage hires stupid attorneys and the judge is a class-1 idiot.

But I doubt that.

Read The Full Thread:

Verizon Patents - Clear proof of prior art from 1995

This is reprinted from: The comp.dcom.telecom newsgroup dated Sep 22 1995,
I refer to the below link, worth the read.
Actually, yes, you are right. Amateur radio operators have been doing that for
Everyone knows that Verizon did not invent VOIP, fiber optic technology, or the
Who's copying who?? Verizon Voice Wing Website is infringing on Vonage's Marketing,
Vonage developed a service using off-the-shelf tecnology. Verizon didn't
here's my issue with this patent fight in court. the 3com patent and verizon
Alas, you can't infringe marketing. Maybe trade dress or trademarks, but not

robertplattbell posted "I knew an Examiner who used to cite science fiction stories as "prior art" to Patent" on 09/27/2007

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