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Journal Yaztromo's Journal: Today, I am an inventor in two countries! 3

Rewind back to 2000. While everyone was taking a breather after Y2K turned out to be a relative non-event (thanks to hard work from the technical community everywhere), I was coming up with ideas. Ideas for things. Things that would do stuff.

Some of these things caught the attention of my then-employer (a company often associated with the words "big" and "blue"), and the slow wheels started grinding them towards some patents. Two of them in particular made their way through the internal grinder, and became actual applications: "Executing Native Code in Place of Non-Native Code", and "Dynamic Generation of Program Execution Trace Files in a Standard Markup Language".

Then that company gave me the boot.

Over the years since, I've kept an eye on my ideas through online databases. Both were filed in both Canada and the US, with the US applications appearing to be "links" to the Canadian patents. I'd look in on the CIPO database here in Canada every few months, generally to see the only "progress" being that my former employer had paid some yearly renewal fee.

This changed briefly back in 2006, when ""Dynamic Generation of Program Execution Trace Files..." was listed in CIPO's database as "dead". You win some, you lose some.

Ever since, nothing has changed...until I decided on a lark to take a peek today, to find:


So I decided to do a quick search of Google's Patent Database to see if it shows up there too, only to find an unexpected entry instead: I have been an inventor on a patent since 2007, and didn't know it. The one that was marked as dead in Canada turned out to have been issued in the US. So not only was I surprised today to find out that one of my inventions was just issued a Canadian patent, but that another one was granted a US patent nearly two years ago.

Regardless of what I might think about software patents, this is still a pretty happy day. Both of the ideas patented in these two patents are in use in the wild (and presumably without a license from IBM), and I personally hope it stays that way. I have no say over how my old employer uses these patents (I technically didn't have any say in them applying for these patents either), but it feels pretty good to have these two added feathers in my cap today. It's been a very long wait, and I had long ago given up on anything ever being granted, so this has been a rather pleasant surprise for me.


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Today, I am an inventor in two countries!

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  • I noticed that Oracle referred to one of yours as a stepping stone for one of theirs. That's cool, that your work influenced them.

    I tried to follow the code-substitution patent, but I didn't get beyond the first five pages. Sorry.

    • From my experience on the way the citations work, it isn't so much that someone sat down to invent something and read over a big pile of patents to get ideas, and then invent something -- it's more that once you invent something, the patent lawyers get someone to search patent databases for anything even vaguely similar to their patent, and add it as a citation. So while it is kinda cool (and thanks for pointing it out -- I hadn't noticed!), I'm willing to bet that the inventors in this case probably never

      • by Degrees ( 220395 )

        Thank you for the explanation. That does make it easy to understand. I can certainly see the idea.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin