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June – Patent 4

EP1030254 Method and system for the management of documents
Advice on the reading of patent specifications:
  • The decisive element are the claims, as they specify which actions are forbidden within the framework of the patent.
  • Violating one single claim is sufficient to be considered a patent violation. Generally, claim number 1 is the decisive main claim which covers all other claims relating to special cases.
  • The description is intended to help the reader interpret the claim. At the same time, it is supposed to document and disclose the details of the invention. This disclosure is the original purpose of the entire patent system.
  • In practice, a patent specification contains no detailed information on how the patented procedure could be implemented (even if the patent owner allowed the implementation). In particular, a software patent contains no program code (reference implementation), but merely describes the idea of a software.

Patented idea: Generating automatically a user interface including a search tool for documents present in electronic form.

Main claim: Converting documents present in electronic form into a uniform target data format, saving "codings" in a database in accordance with rules previously defined, hence generating a user interface including a search tool on the basis of dynamic hypertext.

Further claims:

  • Object-oriented description of the documents
  • Particular cases: Using XML as a uniform intermediate format, using HTML as the target format, using prolog as object-oriented language, usage of an object-oriented database
  • Implementation of the method as client-server-system

Description: The documentation basically consists of repeating the main claim, followed by a sequence of technical terms from object-oriented programming.

Everyday parallel: A library stes up a file card ("coding") for every book including search terms (author, title, ...). By means of the file cards ("database") librarians ("dynamic user interface") can process efficiently search queries of visitors in the library.

Examples for patent infringements:

  • Internet search engines
  • Every kind of software generating a homepage photo album which involves employing a database and dynamic HTML

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