[Air-l] What is Instant Messaging

Anderson, Ben benander at essex.ac.uk
Thu Dec 19 07:05:33 PST 2002

Jeremy's points are strong on two counts:

1. My understanding is that you can't patent interfaces - they are 'designs'
(ref the Apple/Microsoft/Xerox 'desktop' debacle). You can patent the
'function' and the 'architecture' but the way you present that function to
the user is a 'design'. (I may be wrong on this - corrections welcomed)
2. If the patent has been awarded exactly as: 
IM=(online awareness + buddy list + over TCP/IP protocal + messaging)

then there does indeed seem to be prior art although I agree that those apps
'presented' the functionality to the user rather differently. I suspect the
patent won't stand up but i am no patent lawyer. Thankfully.


Dr Ben Anderson
+44 (0) 7710 187 806 

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