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Re: Graph isomorphism based PK cryptosystems?

At 11:43 5/25/94 -0400, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
>Harry Bartholomew says:
>> > Jay Prime Positive says:
>> > > I only worry that if I publish, it could be patented.  And I don't
>> > > want the algorithm to end up in the hands of the software patent
>> > > folks.  Especially if they will be making money off it, and I wont.
>> > 
>> > If you publish, only you could patent it. There is only danger if you
>> > don't publish, in which case others can independently make the same
>> > discovery and patent it.
>> > 
>> > Perry
>>     But you would then need to file within one year of the publication
>>     date I think.
>His whole point was that he wanted to render the process unpatentable.

I talked to a lawyer very recently about this. She does not specialize in
patent law but does deal with it. The situation is confusing and fluid.
Here is what I think I heard, ommiting occasional caveats:

If the patent office knows of prior art (as indicated in some publication)
it will not issue a patent. If it does not know then it may issue the
patent even if the art is well known outside the patent office. (Software
is very new to the PO.) When a patent is contested by virtue of duplicating
prior art the PO may admit that they goofed and invalidate part or all of
the patent. The PO doesn't like to do this. Litigation is the next step and
a judge decides if there was prior art. This is usually expensive. 

The case of the recent Compton multimedia (?) patent was so egregious that
the patent office said that they had goofed and would reconsider. I have
not seen the patent but the rumour is that there were few ideas that had
not been covered in Goodman's (?) book on Hypercard (?).  The book had been
out for while before the patent was granted (or submited, I think).