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July 31, 2009



Mail filters have existed long before his patent. Not to mention usenet filters (source of the sound effect *plonk*) which did exactly the same thing with spam on usenet. But wait! If a page isn't the same as a "plurality" of pages when considering prior art, maybe usenet spam is different from email spam, even though they're both plain text messages sent over the internet!

At this point, I honestly believe that, no matter what the legal standards actually are, the USPTO will grant your patent application so long as your lawyers are persistent enough and no one has patented the exact same thing before.

I would've added exceptions for things like perpetual motion machines, but even a few of those have snuck through when they wised up and avoided calling themselves that. No, I'm not kidding: see U.S. Patent 6,960,975. That kind of anti-gravity machine could be used for perpetual motion if it actually existed.

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