RE: Dang it!!

  • From: "Chris Hofstader" <chris.hofstader@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 07:17:14 -0400

While some features that Microsoft and other companies have included in
products over the years may demonstrate published prior art (one of the few
ways to defend a patent violation is by finding such), we, at FS, used very
good intellectual property lawyers and performed a very thorough search of
publications and implementations to make certain that we could make our
patent as broad as possible while not including protection for inventions
that came before.  Thus, we could add clauses like, "in a screen access
program used by blind people to..." or other specific information that would
block out AT companies and virtually any program intended for people with
disabilities which is all we cared to prohibit anyway as, if the feature was
put into a spreadsheet (for instance), we wouldn't care less as we didn't
compete in that space.

I probably have a copy of the patent text somewhere and can put it up in a
web directory for people to download if they care to.  I'm also fairly
certain that anyone who searches a bit on the USPTO web site can find all of
the FS screen reader and other patents written in the past five and a half
years or so (we had only one patent before then).

While I think software patents are "on topic" for a programming list as they
are a very unfortunate aspect of life in the development field these days, I
would like to apologize for fanning flames and making a number of quite off
topic posts lately.  By coincidence, a number of my hot button issues came
up on the list this week and rather than behaving like a good citizen of a
list like this, I let my anger filled emotional side take control and wrote
emails that didn't belong here and, to some extent, were insulting to some
individuals on the list and to the general attitude of the group.


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