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

Brian Russo brian at beruna.org
Fri Aug 7 10:50:54 PDT 2009

Well there are all kinds of nonsensical patents on the books but a lot of
them are never enforced. I don't see how the web mapping patent would
fulfill the non-obvious requirement- but there are a lot of stupid courts
out there.

 - bri

On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 4:14 AM, Bill Thoen <bthoen at gisnet.com> wrote:

> You might be surprised what people might be able to get away with, though.
> There's been repeated attempts to patent "web mapping" for example, and if
> it wasn't for the efforts of a few dedicated people, there would now be
> patents in both Britain and the USA on displaying maps over the web. But the
> threat is not dead yet, believe it or not, and it may culminate in a battle
> between Microsoft and Google sometime in the near future. Check out Daniel
> Morissette's blog entry for Feb 21, 2009, "Microsoft Patents the Map" at
> http://www.systemed.net/blog/?p=68. If Microsoft really uses the Multimap
> patent to put the bite on Google, then you can bet your bippy that it'll
> affect your web mapping business too.
> If reading that article brings your blood to a righteous boil, and you want
> to know more about who really invented web mapping, see Carl Reed's 2004
> article, "Intellectual Property, Patents, and Web Mapping: Historical
> Perspective" at http://portal.opengeospatial.org/files/?artifact_id=28360.
> - Bill Thoen
> GISnet - www.gisnet.com
> Brian Russo wrote:
>> I've seen legends similar to that before; afraid I can't offer anything
>> solid in terms of prior art examples but it's hardly as revolutionary as
>> they seem to think.
>> Pretty absurd if you ask me;
>> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 7:34 AM, "René A. Enguehard" <ahugenerd at gmail.com<mailto:
>> ahugenerd at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>    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.
>>    René
>>    IANAL
>>    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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