[OSGeo-Discuss] Fw: Re: New Google Mapping Patent

Christopher Schmidt crschmidt at crschmidt.net
Tue Jan 9 12:23:43 PST 2007

On Tue, Jan 09, 2007 at 03:14:05PM -0500, Ed McNierney wrote:
> I would like to strongly second Michael's comments, having spent a lot
> of time on patent issues myself (it appears that I'm an engineer who can
> communicate well with lawyers <g>).  It is indeed very common to have
> folks misread or over-generalize a patent and then conclude that there's
> plenty of prior art, when in fact the claimed invention may indeed be
> quite novel when understood correctly.
> I don't have time to look into these patents right now, but a quick
> glance at the "serving tiled images" patent seems to show that it
> focuses more specifically on (a) generating tiled images from VECTOR
> data (not raster) and (b) on the generation process rather than the
> serving process.  I'm not suggesting those claims should be valid or
> invalid, but the proper understanding of a patent's claims is a tricky
> business.  Remember that patents are for SPECIFIC inventions, so GENERAL
> descriptions of them are almost certainly misleading!

Although my understanding may be wrong, I've always understood patents
to be a list of claims, and if *any one of those claims* is violated,
the invention doing that violation is in violation of the patent. 

So, if I have a claim of:

"A system developed for making grilled cheese. 

What is claimed is:

 1. The method of Cheese Slicing where the knife cuts through the
 2. The method of Claim 1 where the slicing is performed by a
    non-serated knife


Then this patent would cover:
 * Any use of a non-serated knife to cut cheese 
 * Any use of a knife to cut through cheese.

If it's only the former, than this patent is much less broad than my
previous email stated... though it's all very difficult to understand
without being a lawyer, and obviously any advice given here is not
likely to be lawerly advice.

I'd be very happy to be told I'm wrong, and that the example I gave only
is allowed to consider violations of claims 1 *and* 2, but that's not
the impression I've gotten so far.

Christopher Schmidt
Web Developer

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