[OSGeo-Discuss] Patent for feature of paper map.

"René A. Enguehard" ahugenerd at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 10:34:14 PDT 2009

I suspect they might be applying for the patent but in for quite a 
surprise when it gets rejected. Features for maps would be very tricky 
to patent and, more importantly, not in the interest of the general 
public. As such the patent applications would probably get rejected. 
Would we really want people patenting things like projections, north 
arrows, scale bars or legends? I don't think it would be productive and 
suspect any patent office in its right mind would see it the same way.

Patents were created to help people protect their ideas for a length of 
time so they could reap the rewards of their work and refine it without 
fear of being copied or undercut. This works very well for many things 
but fails miserably for conceptual things like maps or layouts for books 
or posters. This is why many patent offices now require people to patent 
"systems" rather than "things". I don't see how a wrap-around map could 
be explained as a system.


Landon Blake wrote:
> The latest issue of the ACSM Bulletin had an interesting article about 
> a map matrix that wraps around the edge of a paper map. It seems the 
> company that is using this feature of hard copy map design is applying 
> for a patent. I didn’t even think you could get a patent a feature of 
> a paper map. It got me wondering who holds the patent on the use of a 
> north arrow and scale.
> At any rate, here is the article if you are interested in reading it:
> http://www.webmazine.org/issues/current/documents/wrap.pdf
> I couldn’t find the patent application, or I would have posted a link 
> to it. Let me know if you have any comments.
> Landon
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