[Asterisk-Dev] Re: [Asterisk-biz] Patent lawyers?

David Pollak dpp-asterisk at projectsinmotion.com
Wed Jun 8 08:45:54 MST 2005


I know of at least two companies that used this software to deliver 
faxes via e-mail to national and international networks of users.  It 
was not a single PC receiving faxes into an inbox, it was incoming faxes 
distributed to one or more e-mail addresses where the e-mail was read 
nationally or internationally.

I believe there were installations with more than 1 incoming fax modem, 
but that's a factual issue that would have to be checked with the folks 
who managed the installations.

On a separate note, Apple also had a fax modem circa 1990.  I built a 
broadcast fax system that took a SCO box and a bank of serial ports and 
did customized cover pages and content from MS Word doc e-mail to an 
address (does anyone remember UUCP) and faxed to a list of people.  I 
can't for the life of me remember if I had incoming support on the 
system as well.  But this should cover the issues relating to e-mail to 
an address for faxing.

Remember also that you cannot patent the automation of a manual 
process.  That means that if I can do something by hand, you cannot get 
a patent on merely having a machine follow the same steps.  This was one 
of the ways that a patent of real-time trading from a spreadsheet was 
knocked out in Canada.



Mike M wrote:

>On Tue, Jun 07, 2005 at 03:49:00PM -0700, David Pollak wrote:
>>Black and White Software was selling software that monitored a fax modem 
>>on NeXT computers and forwarded incoming faxes to e-mail addresses back 
>>in 1992.  If you need more information, I can dig up advertisements for 
>>the product from NeXTWorld magazine.  I used the product (and know other 
>>who did as well.)  It seems to be prior art to the fax via e-mail patents.
>Read the patents carefully because the thing you describe above is for a
>computer and not a national network.  It is these minor modifications
>that get patented.  If you think of a major idea and some else improves
>it in a minor way and patents the improvement, guess what?, you can't use the
>improvement without the patent holder's permission.  That'll chap you,
>won't it?
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