Written by Brandon Shalton

updated on August 28, 2003

A Call to Arms - Finding Prior Art
by Brandon Shalton, August 12, 2003 10:49am

If you wondering, how do all of these patents affect me if I have audio or video clips on my website, then here’s the most direct answer: If you have any audio or video clips on your website, you are in violation of several patent holder claims. They have been granted protection by the US (and European) Government to keep people from using their patented ideas, which means, you cannot distribute digitized audio/video files from your website without paying them a license.

The companies that have been served with papers are mounting up their defense and an organization called The Internet Media Protective Association (http://www.impai.org) has been formed.

The way to successfully defeat a patent is to find “prior art”.

"Prior Art" in laymen terms means evidence that a patented idea had already been publicized or used prior to the patent that was filed.

If I filed a patent claim that said that I am going to patent toilet paper, and the date of my filing was Aug. 18, 2003, and assuming the Patent Office never used toilet paper because their heads were up their a** and granted me the patent, someone would have to prove that toilet paper existed before 2003 by showing some kind of evidence.

This documentation of evidence is called "prior art", and it would be used to prove that a patent was not original, and therefore it would be revoked.

The Acacia patent basically describes an entire system, comprised of individual pieces of technology that achieve the following: Digital content that has been compressed (to reduce transmission time, and in a smaller size than the original raw digital data), stored on a server, downloaded by a user request (ie. phone line, x.25, satellite, internet, etc) with playback on a PC. This entire process does not work in real time, more of a store-and-forward methodology.

All of the patent holders are specific about digitized audio and video that is transferred from one location to another for viewing, rather than relying on having the video tape to view.

One way to refute the patent, is to find the prior art back in the BBS days. Bulletin Board Services were like web servers, but before web servers were around. Computer users would connect via modem to the BBS to read/post messages to message boards, play online games, and to download/share files.

All new technology surfaces first in the adult industry, and digitized audio and video made their appearances on adult BBS in the form of .GL files. George Phillips created the GRASP player well before 1991 that allowed for the playback of moving pictures. His technology was utilized by adult content producers to make digitized clips that were very novel at the time since previously, porn was found only as images (ie. GIF).

In digging back to the BBS days, we need to find some .GL files that were dated pre-1990. Finding a .GL file that was a digitized movie could prove the Acacia patent to be invalid. The .GL file would represent:

Digitized Audio or Video content, that was as compressed into the .GL format, that was stored on a BBS, with transmission via phone lines, with playback on a PC.

Finding a .GL file is not enough. There needs to be documentation within the clip of a copyright notice prior to 1990 as well as finding the company that produced the file to provide documentation that the file was legitimate.

For those involved in the Telecommunications field, your experiences of Video On Demand, Video over ISDN starting before 1990 would be greatly helpful. Please contact me if you are an individual that fits this experience area.

If you find some potential prior art, feel free to send it to us and we will research and compile the results and send it to the attorneys fighting the patent claims.

copyright 2003, FightThePatent.com