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(Message started by: camdenroberts on Feb 15th, 2007, 12:01pm)

Title: Evaluating Patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242
Post by camdenroberts on Feb 15th, 2007, 12:01pm
Hello

I am interested in starting a website similar to Elance.com. However, they filed a patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242.  For Elance to file claims against me, I would have to do EVERY single step of their process...is that correct?  If I took out a step or changed the method in anyway, they cannot file claims?


File claims as below
-----------------------------------
The invention claimed is:

1. A computer implemented method, comprising: accepting a posting on a website of a project that a buyer wants completed; providing a database containing all registered sellers; receiving a bid on the project from any seller, where all registered sellers are qualified to bid on postings in all categories; allowing the buyer to accept the
received bid from the seller; and allowing the buyer and the seller to work on the project in a collaborative workspace accessible by only the buyer and the seller, where the seller develops and delivers the project in the collaborative workspace and the buyer can track the
project in the collaborative workspace before it is complete.


Title: Re: Evaluating Patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242
Post by JSonnabend on Feb 15th, 2007, 3:14pm
Every single step or the legal equivalent of every single step, yes.

- Jeff

Title: Re: Evaluating Patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242
Post by Wiscagent on Feb 16th, 2007, 8:02am
It is likely that there are other patents closely related to your business plan you should be evaluating as well.  A "right to practice" or "patent clearance" search and analysis can be a bottomless pit of time, energy, and money; nevertheless you should conduct whatever you feel is a reasonable search for your situation.  That's probably more than looking at one claim from one patent.

Title: Re: Evaluating Patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242
Post by Isaac on Feb 16th, 2007, 9:28am
A patent holder might claim allege indirect or contributory infringement in situations where you don't perform all of the method steps, but where someone else uses your work to do so.

In other situations there might be a disagreement about whether you actually do peform step a or its equivalent. Filing a claim is not the same as proving infringement or liability, so a defense that you don't perform step a may not preclude being sued.



Title: Re: Evaluating Patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242
Post by J.Choules on Apr 17th, 2007, 1:44am
"If I took out a step or changed the method in anyway, they cannot file claims?"

Generally the owner of the patent (inventors and/or assignees) are entitled to the claimed invention or any 'obvious' improvement over the claimed invention.  In some cases it may be obvious to omit or change a step.  On the other hand a review of the file wrapper (Available on public PAIR on the USPTO website. Sorry I cannot provide a link) may show that some step or feature was argued as distinguishing from the prior art and thus the omission of that feature would not be ruled as obvious.  Further even if you do distinguish over the claim if the owner has deep pockets and wishes to eliminate your competition he could open litigation anyway hoping that you do not have resources to defend.  Thus it is not such a open and shut case of simply changing an element.   It would probably be a good idea to determine exactly what you wish to do and then talk to a patent attorney about possible conflicts.  

Title: Re: Evaluating Patent U.S. Patent 7,069,242
Post by Isaac on Apr 17th, 2007, 7:37am

on 04/17/07 at 01:44:05, J.Choules wrote:
"Generally the owner of the patent (inventors and/or assignees) are entitled to the claimed invention or any 'obvious' improvement over the claimed invention. In some cases it may be obvious to omit or change a step.


This probably overstates the doctrine of equivalents a bit.   The CAFC's "all elements rule" pretty much means that the DOE generally won't allow a claim to cover an omitted step.



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