Joseph M. Gusmano

Monday, September 26, 2005
Thursday, January 22, 2004
In keeping with a prior promise to bring nanotechnology information to the gentle reader (my use of the singular is probably not rhetorical, Mom), go here for as good a primer as anywhere, except for the size of the files.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Back, To The Future!

A lot of attention is about to be paid in the near future to prior art in software and networking, so it might be a good idea, if we want to know where we are going, is to review where we have been. I had a dim memory about a mechanical computer and a guy named Babbage, which came to the fore when I was reading in a completely different book, which I do not recommend and therefore will not slander here, about how Charles Babbage cracked the Vignere cipher, which was the height of 19th century cryptology.

This led me to The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer, which I recommend highly. The book centers on the engineering and mechanical achievements of such a detailed machine built at a time when machining was a very crude art, and the quest to build a working replica at the British Science Museum. So what exactly did he build, from a prior art standpoint? The book does not go into great detail, but the author credits him with having created a precursor to the von Neumann architecture, which is the conceptual model for the machine you are staring at right now, as well as virtually every other computer. This is an overstatement, since there is no evidence that any of the fathers of the electronic computer knew about or referred back to Babbage's work. But lost prior art is still prior art. Clearly a closer look is in order. I may even get to it someday.

Other interesting tidbits: the author believes, having assembled a replica of his Analytical Engine, that Babbage deliberately planted errors in his drawings so that someone who stole them would not be able to make the machine properly. Also, Babbage himself disliked patents. And about the Vignere cipher, the book posits that he never took credit for breaking it because the foreign powers who were using it would know their codes were being broken. More about Babbage and his engines here, and here.
Friday, January 16, 2004
I know three ways to get the decisions:

1. The Federal Circuit web site posts opinions for the past several months. They are posted in Microsoft Word format, which is easy to bring up in WordPad if you don't have Word, and is very readable, but not very good to link to. And the link comes down after a while.

2. The Georgetown University Law Center (my alma mater) library web site has opinions in well-formatted HTML and in PDF, which I like, but sometimes they are a couple of days behind on the decisions. And you can do a full text search.

3. FindLaw posts opinions promptly, and you can search by date and party name in addition to a word serch. But they are unformatted text, so they are hard to read with the formatting gone, and usually the footnotes are missing too! Obviously not the best way to go.

None of the above have the opinions in a proper slip opinion format. I don't even know if they issue one. So there is no proper method of legal citation without paying for a commercial one.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Reorientation Redux
Part of the problem with keeping track of the cases is finding them all, and having time left over to report on them. I had been using FindLaw Newsletters for Intellectual Property Law and for Patent Law for most of 2003, but had a sinking feeling I was missing cases. Last month I checked and I verified that I was, but not nearly as many as I had feared. So I still recommend it for all but the obsessive.

So last month I just went ahead and subscribed to all of the Circuit Court of Appeals newsletters, which is good because they come every day there are decisions, but bad because there are up to a dozen of them every day! Thankfully now you can browse and search the opinion summaries.

As the various Circuits come up I plan to write about the best ways to get the cases. When I am done I may have something that may even be useful to someone, somewhere. Did I say obsessive? I meant dedicated.
Monday, January 12, 2004
Tactical Reorientation
A new year, a new start here and at the Patent Project and the Trademark Project. So look for them this week. Clearly some revision of the missions are in order, so that there are no further interruptions. And, a new year means revisiting the decisions of the old, to wit:

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Hosting: Renewed icdSOFT for my web host, it never gave me a hint of a problem and you can't get much cheaper than 60 dollars per year. In fact, I recommend it so unqualifiedly that I joined ClickBank just so I can refer it. I could not even find a banner so I made this one from their web site, do you like? Who knows, maybe a couple of referrals will keep me in bandwidth, so click away!

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Weblogging: I looked at TypePad by the Movable Type people, which has great features which I sure wouldn't mind having. But to host three weblogs costs 90 dollars a year for less storage and bandwidth. And Blogger sent me a nice sweatshirt when they rolled Blogger Pro into the free version. Maybe I will look into Movable Type 3.0 when it is released.

Template: I spent way too much time looking to see if there was a template I liked better than this one, without success. In the end I realized the only things I didn't like were (1) the name, which is not the template's fault, and (2) the proportions, which I feel I have improved. Have a look at my old template and let me know what you think. And now to work.
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