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[registrars] Patent problems.

Dear Colleagues:

The following is copied from the weekly newsletter of one of our ISPs in 
Tokyo, Global On-line. I give them copyright recognition.

In this week's issue:
* THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHT - Patent Dilemma
* PICK OF THE WEEK- Why Irish Eyes Smile
* FAQ - What does CPU mean?
   UFJ Symposium on Life in Japan
   Correction- Time Plus/ Area Plus
   About Exodus Communications - Our Parent Company
T H I S  W E E K' S  H I G H L I G H T
Patent Dilemma

Patents, originally created to protect inventors by
excluding members of the public from making using or selling
a claimed invention, are now being used as weapons in
cyberspace.  One of the most recent examples of this
occurred when Amazon.com patented on its one-click process and
proceeded to sue competitor barnesandnoble.com for copying

While Amazon.com claimed that it had obtained the patent as a
defensive measure, it came under extraordinary criticism
from the Internet community, which generally favors a
freewheeling and competitive climate. Influential
free-software advocates Richard M. Stallmann even called for
a boycott of the company, arguing that the patent was an
attempt to stake a claim for an obvious application of
existing technology, and was granted mostly because patent
examiners were unfamiliar with software technology.

Stung by the consumer backlash, Jeffrey Bezos, Founder and
CEO of Amazaon.com has called for a revision of the patent
system, where patents on business methods and software would
be shortened from 20 years to 3 to 5 years. Bezos, along
with many others urge a change in a system that is seemingly
ill prepared to handle inventions in the digital age. In
addition to shortening the patent life-span for business
methods, he is urging that database be created to help
patent offices keep in tune with the industry. While the
drama pays itself out, questions remain about how to prevent
companies from using patents as weapons, while still
protecting the rights of true inventors.

Visit the links below for related information.

About: Inventions Patents
Most countries of the world have patent systems, although
the patent terms and types of patents vary. Here's some
general information about patents.

"Dear Amazon, We are boycotting your site and company
because of your attempt to tax e-commerce via your patents
on one-click shopping and affiliate programs."

NY Times Article - Patently Absurd
Once the province of a nuts-and-bolts world, patents are now
being applied to thoughts and ideas in cyberspace. It's a
ridiculous phenomenon, and it could kill e-commerce.

Amazon to world: We control how many times you must click!
"The courts may keep handing Bezos victories in the patent
wars. But every win for Amazon is a loss for the Web as a

Greed undermines benefits of digital technology - Mercury Center
"When they wrote the Constitution, the nation's founders
didn't figure on digital technology's impact. But I'm
convinced they would have been appalled by the way greed has
overcome the public interest when it comes to intellectual

Bezos Proposes Shortening Terms on Patents
Covering Business Processes
Stung by widespread criticism of Amazon.com's patents on
some of its Internet-based business methods, company
Chairman Jeff Bezos on Thursday proposed a rewriting of U.S.
patent laws to accommodate the lightning pace of innovation
on the web. In an open letter posted on the online
retailer's Web site, Bezos proposed cutting the term of
patents on business methods and software to three to five
years--much shorter than the existing term of 20 years from
the date the patent is applied for.

Japanese Patent Office
For those interested in patent information in Japan.

A word to the wise:   If someone sends you an Email with a large
number of addresses in the "CC:" field, those names can very easily
get into the hands of bulk Email merchants.   Unsolicited bulk Email
is known as "spamming".  Recently, I received a spam message
offering us software which would take all our Email and extract
the various addresses from it so it would be used in sending
spam messages.  The vendor would even purchase the output
from his software to further enhance his spamming business.

It is therefore considered very bad practice to put large lists
in the CC: field.  They should be put in the "BCC:" field.  "BCC"
stands for "blind courtesy copy".  (If you're old enough to remember
the typewriter, in those far distant days it meant "blind carbon copy".)
I often send Email to myself as the vehicle for sending to a list which
is in the BCC: field.

By the way (BTW in Internet jargon), spamming is against the
rules of the Internet.  Legitimate Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
will cut off the service of their clients if they continue to send
spams after a reasonable warning.

Bob Connelly